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Predators at Devils preview

Nashville's Hynes coaching first game against New Jersey, team that fired him Dec. 3

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

PREDATORS (23-19-7) AT DEVILS (18-24-7)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, NHL.TV

 
The Game

John Hynes will coach at Prudential Center for the first time with the Nashville Predators when they play the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

Hynes was 150-159-45 in five seasons as Devils coach before being fired Dec. 3. The Predators hired him Jan. 7. Nashville is 4-4-0 with Hynes, including a 5-4 win at the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. Goalie Pekka Rinne is expected to start after Juuse Saros made 29 saves against the Capitals.

The Devils won 4-3 in a shootout at the Ottawa Senators on Monday to end a three-game losing streak (0-3-0). Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood will make his second straight start.

 
Players to watch

Predators forward Filip Forsberg has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past eight games.

Devils center Nico Hischier has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in his past 13 games.

 
They said it

"I haven't been back there since everything went down. Yeah, I think it will be a little different. I'm not sure what to expect." -- Predators coach John Hynes

"I'm sure it's going to hit me when I see [Hynes] across the bench. But once the game starts he wants to win the game and we want to win the game. It's going to be a special night and a lot of emotions to start, but once the puck drops it should be OK." -- Devils coach Alain Nasreddine

 
Predators projected lineup

Matt Duchene -- Ryan Johansen -- Mikael Granlund

Filip Forsberg -- Kyle Turris -- Viktor Arvidsson

Rocco Grimaldi -- Nick Bonino -- Craig Smith

Calle Jarnkrok -- Colin Blackwell -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Dante Fabbro

Jarred Tinordi -- Mattias Ekholm

Dan Hamhuis -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Yakov Trenin, Matt Irwin

Injured: Ryan Ellis (upper body), Colton Sissons (lower body)

 
Devils projected lineup

Jesper Bratt -- Nico Hischier -- Kyle Palmieri

Blake Coleman -- Travis Zajac -- Nikita Gusev

Pavel Zacha -- Jack Hughes -- Wayne Simmonds

Miles Wood -- Kevin Rooney -- John Hayden

Andy Greene -- P.K. Subban

Damon Severson -- Sami Vatanen

Will Butcher -- Mirco Mueller

Mackenzie Blackwood 

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Connor Carrick

Injured: Ben Street (upper body)

 
Status report

Sissons, a forward who has missed 12 games, skated Wednesday and could return. … Subban participated in the morning skate but is a game-time decision because of an illness.

 
Stat pack

The Predators are 6-0-3 in their past nine games against the Devils; their last loss in regulation against them was March 3, 2015. ... Duchene has 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 18 games against the Devils. ... Josi needs three points for 400 in the NHL. ... Coleman has six goals in his past seven games.

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