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Preview: Hurricanes at Predators

Forward Jeff Skinner has 11 points in eight games for Carolina; Nashville looking for offensive spark

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

HURRICANES (2-4-3) at PREDATORS (3-5-2)

8 p.m. ET; FS-CR, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 

Hurricanes team scope

The Carolina Hurricanes will play their first game of a back-to-back set against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. They will host the New Jersey Devils at PNC Arena on Sunday. Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner, who has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in eight games, will be on a line with Victor Rask and Lee Stempniak against the Predators, and credits his linemates for his early-season offensive success. "I think [Rask] and I have played together for a while now," Skinner said. "[Stempniak] has done a good job of coming in this year and being a good right winger. It's been fun playing with those two guys. They're obviously two guys that can make a difference in a game, and it's fun when you can sort of read off those types of guys because they're really smart and they can make plays out there. I just try and get open and sort of read off of them."

 

Predators team scope

The Predators are returning from a five-game road trip where they went 1-2-2. They have struggled to score goals consistently, and some of their top offensive players have gotten off to slow starts. Forwards Ryan Johansen and James Neal each have one goal through 10 games, and forward Filip Forsberg has yet to score a goal despite leading the team in points with seven assists. "These things happen for everyone," Forsberg said. "Obviously it's the start of the year, you want to get off the mark. It's different now, obviously. It gets more frustrating now because you haven't been able to find success as a team. If we would have won all 10 games, I probably wouldn't care, but now obviously I want to contribute and help the team win games."

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Lee Stempniak

Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil

Sebastian Aho - Elias Lindholm - Teuvo Teravainen

Viktor Stalberg - Jay McClement - Phillip Di Giuseppe

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Bryan Bickell, Klas Dahlbeck, Jakub Nakladal

Injured: None

 

Predators projected lineup

Viktor Arvidsson - Ryan Johansen - James Neal

Colin Wilson - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith

Filip Forsberg - Calle Jarnkrok - Kevin Fiala

Cody Bass - Colton Sissons - Austin Watson

Roman Josi - Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin - Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Marek Mazanec

Scratched: Matt Carle, Harry Zolnierczyk

Injured: Anthony Bitetto (upper body), Mike Fisher (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (upper body)

 

Status report

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters confirmed Ward will start in goal. … Fisher did not participate in the morning skate. He's listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. … Rinne is expected to start for the Predators.

 

Who's hot

Skinner has four goals and four assists in his past five games. … Smith leads the Predators with five goals, including three in his past two games. 

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