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Erat, Hornqvist to miss Nashville's home opener

by John Manasso /
The Predators placed veteran forward Martin Erat on injured reserve Thursday retroactive to Oct. 8. In addition, right wing Patric Hornqvist also will be out for Nashville's home opener Thursday with Phoenix, meaning Niclas Bergfors and Brian McGrattan will make their debuts for the organization.

Erat has an upper-body injury, while Hornqvist, a 30-goal scorer in 2009-10, has a lower-body injury.

A member of the NHL All-Rookie team in 2009-10, the Preds are Bergfors' fourth team since February 2010. He was a healthy scratch for Nashville's first two games -- both wins on the road, against Columbus and St. Louis -- but is a former 20-goal scorer.

"Bergfors is coming into the lineup and he'll probably play with Sergei Kostitsyn," Predators coach Barry Trotz said of the line centered by Nick Spaling. "… I think he's a little bit like Sergei (in 2010-11), I think he had an OK camp, but it's just like last year, Sergei took a while to get used to how we play and I think Bergie had to catch up a little bit there.

"But he's really a pretty good detail guy, he's pretty competitive. What you notice about him, he's quick, but not fast. Sergei's more … he can get from goal line to goal line a little quicker, but Bergie really darts in the short areas and he's got a really good release and that's sort of his game. With the way the game's played now, he should be pretty effective if we can get him into the offensive zone and get cycling around and making those short plays. He'll probably do a really good job there."

McGrattan, claimed Tuesday on waivers from Anaheim, brings a physical element. He has 395 penalty minutes in 182 NHL games. The Preds made room for him earlier in the week when they sent Zack Stortini to Milwaukee of the AHL.

Trotz said in terms of Nashville's defense that rookie Mattias Ekholm will be a game-time decision. Jack Hillen and Teemu Laakso, both of whom are minus-1, have formed Nashville's third pair. Ekholm was sick for the Preds' first two games last week.

Phoenix coach Dave Tippett did not announce any lineup changes after his morning skate.

So here's how the lineups for the two teams could look tonight:
Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Craig Smith
Sergei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Niclas Bergfors
Jordin Tootoo - Cal O'Reilly - Matt Halischuk
Blake Geoffrion - Jerred Smithson - Brian McGrattan
Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Jonathon Blum - Kevin Klein
Jack Hillen - Teemu Laakso
Pekka Rinne will start in goal, with Anders Lindback the backup
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Patrick O'Sullivan - Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon
Raffi Torres - Petteri Nokelainen - Mikkel Boedker
Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
David Schlemko - Rostislav Klesla
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin
Mike Smith will start in goal, with Jason LaBarbera the backup.
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