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Preview: Predators at Rangers

New York seeks fourth straight win; backup Juuse Saros likely to start for Nashville

by Dan Rosen @DRosenNHL / NHL.com Senior Writer

PREDATORS (26-19-8) at RANGERS (34-18-1)

7 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 

Predators team scope

The Nashville Predators are expected to start backup goaltender Juuse Saros for the second time in as many games against the New York Rangers this season. Saros, recalled Monday from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League, made 26 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss at Bridgestone Arena on Dec. 17. It will be his first NHL start since allowing five goals on 37 shots in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 24. Nashville comes to Madison Square Garden seeking its 10th win in 14 games; the Predators are 9-3-1 after a 4-2 home win against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday that kept them in third place in the Central Division, one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues. Despite their early-season struggles, the Predators reached the 60-point mark on Tuesday, their 53rd game of the season. They didn't get to 60 points until their 56th game last season, when they finished with 96 points and got into the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the first wild card from the Western Conference.

 

Rangers team scope

The Rangers will try for their fourth straight win. They begin the night three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division and four points behind the second-place Columbus Blue Jackets. Henrik Lundqvist has been on top of his game during the three-game winning streak, allowing five goals on 113 shots (.956 save percentage). His 43 saves in a 4-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday were the most he has made in a win at Madison Square Garden during his career. Lundqvist is 6-1-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in his past eight appearances, and needs two wins to reach 400 for his career. The Rangers are helping Lundqvist by producing offensively. They have 10 goals during the three-game winning streak and have scored 66 in their past 18 games, going 11-7-0. The Rangers are 17-5-0 against Western Conference teams this season.

 

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

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Colton Sissons, Anthony Bitetto, Brad Hunt

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

 

Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Derek Stepan -- Rick Nash

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner -- Kevin Hayes -- J.T. Miller

Pavel Buchnevich -- Oscar Lindberg -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Nick Holden

Marc Staal -- Adam Clendening

Brady Skjei -- Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel

Injured: Dan Girardi (ankle)

 

Status report

The Predators recalled Aberg from Milwaukee on Tuesday when they placed Zolnierczyk on injured reserve. … Girardi is day to day, coach Alain Vigneault said. He required stitches in his ankle to close a wound resulting from a blocked shot against the Ducks. Clendening will get back in the lineup after being scratched for the past four games. Pirri will be scratched for the fourth straight game. Puempel will be scratched for the second consecutive game.

 

Who's hot

Arvidsson had three points, including two goals, against the Canucks. He has 10 points in the past nine games. Jarnkrok has seven points, including three goals, in the past six games. Johansen has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the past eight games. … Miller has 20 points in the past 16 games, including seven assists in an active four-game assists streak. Grabner has 11 goals and 14 points in the past 13 games. Kreider has points in four straight games.

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