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Predators at Panthers preview

Driedger to make first NHL start for Florida; Nashville can extend point streak to five games

by Alain Poupart / Independent Correspondent

PREDATORS (12-9-4) at PANTHERS (12-8-5)

7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-F, FS-TN, NHL.TV


The Game

Goalie Chris Driedger will make his first NHL start and first League appearance in more than three years when the Florida Panthers host the Nashville Predators at BB&T Center on Saturday.

Driedger, whose last NHL game was with the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 28, 2016, was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Monday. He was leading the AHL with a .938 save percentage.

He has played in three NHL games, all with Ottawa.

The Panthers look to end a three-game losing streak after going 5-1-0 in their previous six games.

The Predators will try to extend their point streak to five games (3-0-1) following a six-game winless streak (0-5-1).

Florida won the first meeting this season, 3-2 in a shootout at Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 19.


Players to watch

Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past five games.

Panthers forward Brett Connolly has eight points (six goals, two assists) in his past seven games. His 28.6 shooting percentage (12 goals on 42 shots) leads the NHL among players with at least 15 shots.


They said it

"We're playing the right way, every line is contributing, whether that's scoring or just getting pucks deep, checking, blocking shots -- everyone is contributing in their own way. Our goalies both have been awesome, so our team is definitely trending in the right direction, and we have to keep that going." -- Predators forward Rocco Grimaldi

"It's nice being at home. It's more comfortable. With a three-game losing streak, it's nice to know we have nine in a row at home to get back on track." -- Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck on Florida opening its longest homestand of the season


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Calle Jarnkrok

Daniel Carr -- Matt Duchene -- Mikael Granlund

Rocco Grimaldi -- Nick Bonino -- Craig Smith

Austin Watson -- Colton Sissons -- Mathieu Olivier

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- Dante Fabbro

Dan Hamhuis -- Yannick Weber

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Kyle Turris, Matt Irwin

Injured: Viktor Arvidsson (lower body)


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Brett Connolly -- Vincent Trocheck -- Denis Malgin

Frank Vatrano -- Brian Boyle -- Mike Hoffman

Dominic Toninato -- Noel Acciari -- Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

MacKenzie Weegar -- Anton Stralman

Mike Matheson -- Josh Brown

Chris Driedger

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Mark Pysyk

Injured: Jayce Hawryluk (upper body)


Status report

Weegar will be back in the lineup after missing the past eight games with an upper-body injury. … Nashville did not hold a morning skate.


Stat pack

Duchene has 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 18 games against Florida. … Ekblad has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games. … The Panthers' 5-2 loss against Buffalo on Sunday was the only time in 11 home games they failed to score at least three goals.

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