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Preview: Predators at Panthers

Florida's Roberto Luongo goes for milestone win; Juuse Saros likely to play for Nashville

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

PREDATORS (17-14-7) at PANTHERS (16-15-8)

7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, FS-F, FS-TN, NHL.TV

Predators team scope

The Nashville Predators did not hold a morning skate after a 6-1 victory at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Colton Sissons had three goals to become the first Nashville player with a hat trick this season; according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first player in NHL history to score at least three goals in a game with his second being an empty-net goal and his third being scored against a goalie. Goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 27 of 28 shots in his second start in three nights. Rookie Juuse Saros likely will get the call against the Panthers. He has allowed three goals in his past three starts, including a 25-save shutout against the St. Louis Blues in his most recent start on Dec. 30. Nashville is 3-2-1 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season.


Panthers team scope

Forward Jared McCann, acquired in an offseason trade with the Vancouver Canucks for defenseman Erik Gudbranson, was called up from Springfield of the American Hockey League by the Florida Panthers in hopes that he'll provide a boost to the offense. McCann had a goal and two assists in 17 games with Florida before being sent to Springfield, where he had four goals and two assists in 16 games. "We need some shooters," coach Tom Rowe said. "We're at the bottom of the League as far as shooting percentage goes. He's a shooter. He's played really well in Springfield even though the production isn't there. He's going to get an opportunity. He's a good hockey player and we want to see what he can do." Roberto Luongo will make his fourth attempt at getting his 448th career victory, which would move him past Terry Sawchuk for sole possession of fifth place on the NHL's all-time list. Luongo is 0-1-2 since tying Sawchuk with a shootout victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 20, including a 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Friday will be Jaromir Jagr night at BB&T Center. The first 10,000 fans will receive a commemorative T-shirt highlighting Jagr passing Mark Messier for sole possession of second place on the NHL's all-time scoring list.


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Kevin Fiala

Austin Watson -- Mike Fisher - Colton Sissons

Calle Jarnkrok -- Colin Wilson -- Viktor Arvidsson

Harry Zolnierczyk -- Mike Ribeiro -- Craig Smith

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- Matt Irwin

Yannick Weber -- Anthony Bitetto

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Petter Granberg

Injured: P.K. Subban (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (hand), James Neal (upper body)


Panthers projected lineup

Jaromir Jagr - Vincent Trocheck - Jonathan Marchessault

Jussi Jokinen - Nick Bjugstad - Reilly Smith

Jared McCann - Michael Sgarbossa - Colton Sceviour

Greg McKegg - Derek MacKenzie - Paul Thompson

Keith Yandle - Jason Demers

Michael Matheson - Aaron Ekblad

Jakub Kindl - Mark Pysyk

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Denis Malgin, Shawn Thornton, Dylan McIlrath

Injured: Aleksander Barkov (undisclosed) Jonathan Huberdeau (lower leg), Alex Petrovic (ankle), Seth Griffith (upper body)


Status report

Neal did not play against Tampa Bay and is listed as day-to-day. Zolnierczyk would take his spot in the lineup, as he did against the Lightning. … The Panthers placed Griffith, who was injured in the first period against Winnipeg on Tuesday, on injured reserve. Sceviour will be back in the lineup after missing the past two games. Marchessault will go back on the top line, but Rowe said he wouldn't hesitate to change things up during the game and mentioned McCann as a possibility to play with Jagr and Trocheck at some point.


Who's hot

Forsberg has six goals in his past eight games. Fisher has eight points (six goals, two assists) in his past seven games against Florida. … Jagr, who has eight points in his past seven games, passed Paul Coffey for sole possession of fifth place on the all-time list when he had his 1,136th career assist against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Florida has killed off 87.7 percent of its penalties since Nov. 29, fourth-best in the NHL during that span.

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