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Islanders-Predators Preview @NHLdotcom
Islanders-Predators Preview

GAME: New York Islanders (18-21-2) at Nashville Predators (26-12-3).

TIME: Tuesday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Nashville Predators are showing signs of picking up their offense as they welcome the short-handed New York Islanders to the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Nashville is coming off a 5-1 rout Sunday over free-falling Chicago, handing the Blackhawks their 10th loss in a row.

Yanic Perreault had two goals and Steve Sullivan converted on Nashville's first successful penalty shot this season as the Predators bounced back from a 3-1 loss Friday to the Detroit Red Wings.

"It was a good rebound game," Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said. "When you have a team that is very desperate, you don't know how they are going to come out. I thought we did a good job of not giving them anything to get excited about early, and then we scored a couple goals."

Nashville has win two of three after a four-game skid, scoring 10 goals in the last three games. The Predators had managed just seven goals during the slump

That followed a six-game winning streak in which they had been averaging five goals a contest.

Jerred Smithson and Adam Hall also scored Sunday, and backup goaltender Chris Mason made 36 saves for the Predators, whose 16 home wins ties them with the Calgary Flames for the most in the Western Conference.

The Predators take on another struggling team in the Islanders, who have lost two in a row and seven of their last eight, including a 3-0 defeat Saturday to the Carolina Hurricanes in the back end of a home-and-home series.

With starting goaltender and U.S. Olympic team selection Rick DiPietro nursing a sprained knee and backup Garth Snow expected to miss a month with injuries to both knees, Wade Dubielewicz stopped 25 shots in his second straight start.

Fellow U.S. Olympic team selection Jason Blake, who leads the team in scoring, is also day-to-day (bruised ribs), while forward Eric Godard will finish serving a two-game suspension for punching Carolina forward Justin Williams from behind in New York's 4-1 loss Friday in Raleigh, N.C.

Forward Kevin Colley also sat out Saturday's game with a sore knee.

Despite the depleted lineup, Islanders coach Steve Stirling is frustrated with his team's lack of effort.

"You don't get out of a slump by luck," Stirling said. "You get out of it by hard work."

Nashville leads the all-time series 5-3-1.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 9): Islanders - 38 points, 4th place, 22 PB, Atlantic Division. Predators - 55 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Blake, 17 goals; Alexei Yashin, 23 assists and 38 points; Arron Asham, 80 PIM. Predators - Sullivan, 19 goals; Kimmo Timonen, 25 assists; Sullivan and Paul Kariya, 37 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 100 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 9): Islanders - Power play: 17.6 percent (44 for 250), tied for 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.4 percent (221 for 275), tied for 24th. Predators - Power play: 18.1 percent (49 for 271), tied for 12th. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (228 for 269), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - Dubielewicz (1-2-0, 2.95); Frederic Cloutier (no appearances). Predators - Tomas Vokoun (20-9-2, 1, 2.60); Mason (5-2-1, 0, 2.95).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Predators, 1-0-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 15, 2003; Predators, 4-3. At Nashville, Tenn., Martin Erat had a goal and two assists, and Vokoun made 26 saves to improve to 3-2-0 with a 2.59 GAA all-time against New York.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 9-11-1 on the road; Predators - 16-5-0 at home.

Associated Press
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