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Preview: Panthers at Predators

Florida forward Jaromir Jagr two points from 1,900; Nashville plays first of back-to-back set

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

PANTHERS (23-20-10) at PREDATORS (26-20-8)

2 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 
Panthers team scope

The Florida Panthers are playing the first of five straight road games. They are four points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playofffs from the Eastern Conference and believe these five games could help define their season. "I personally think this is huge and the season is on the line," forward Derek MacKenzie told the Sun Sentinel on Friday. "If we could get through this road trip, I think it obviously puts us in a decent position but also makes a statement that we could play with some of the best in their barns. Our backs have been up against the wall all year, so this is no different." Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr is two points from becoming the second player to reach 1,900 in his NHL career. The Panthers are 3-1-0 in their past four games after going 0-2-2 in their previous four.

 
Predators team scope

The Nashville Predators host the Dallas Stars on Sunday after facing Florida, then will have a five-day bye. They trail the St. Louis Blues by one point for third place in the Central Division but hold the first wild card spot into the playoffs from the Western Conference with 60 points, the same as the Los Angeles Kings, who hold the second wild card. The Predators have played one fewer game than the Kings. "Just look at the standings," forward Ryan Johansen told the Predators website Friday. "We know how crucial the points are each and every game now. You have to make sure you're ready for the start and try and play as complete a game as possible, so it's a great challenge for us back-to-back going into the break." Predators defenseman P.K. Subban had two assists in a 4-3 loss at the New York Rangers on Thursday. He had one point in the previous eight games.

 
Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen -- Vincent Trocheck -- Reilly Smith

Jonathan Marchessault -- Michael Sgarbossa -- Nick Bjugstad

Shawn Thornton -- Derek MacKenzie -- Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Mark Pysyk -- Aaron Ekblad

Michael Matheson -- Alex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Jakub Kindl, Greg McKegg

Injured: None

 
Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- James Neal

Pontus Aberg -- Mike Fisher -- Craig Smith

Colin Wilson -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Viktor Arvidsson

Cody McLeod -- Vernon Fiddler -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Brad Hunt, Colton Sissons

Injured: Miikka Salomaki (lower body), Harry Zolnierczyk (upper body)

 
Status report

Reimer and Luongo were pulled in a 6-3 loss to the Kings on Thursday. … Josi was paired with Ellis against the Rangers after being paired with Weber in the previous two games.

 
Who's hot

Demers has one goal and two assists in his past three games. … Jarnkrok has four goals and four assists in his past seven games.

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