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Predators at Penguins preview

Nashville 6-3-1 in past 10 games; Hornqvist back in Pittsburgh lineup

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

PREDATORS (18-13-6) at PENGUINS (22-11-4)



The Game

Patric Hornqvist will return for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they go for their sixth win in seven games, in the second half of a home-and-home against the Nashville Predators at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday.

The forward, who missed 10 games because of a lower-body injury, was activated from injured reserve and will play on the fourth line for Pittsburgh, 5-1-0 in their past six games and 11-4-0 in its past 15.

Goalie Matt Murray could make his third start in December for the Penguins after Tristan Jarry had 30 saves in a 5-2 win against the Predators on Friday. Murray has allowed a combined seven goals in his first two starts this month, and at least four goals in five of his past six starts.

Goalie Juuse Saros could start for Nashville after replacing Pekka Rinne at 14:50 of the first period Friday. Rinne made three saves on six shots; Saros made 17 saves in relief for the Predators, 4-1-1 in their past six games and 6-3-1 in their past 10.

This will be Nashville's final game before facing the Dallas Stars in the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium on Wednesday (2 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS).


Players to watch

Predators defenseman Roman Josi has 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in a six-game point streak. His NHL career-high five-game goal streak ended when he had one assist against the Penguins on Friday.

Penguins forward Bryan Rust has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past seven games. 


They said it

"I think we have to do a better job right in front of the goaltenders. All of their goals came pretty much right in front of the goalie. We have to make sure we defend that area better." -- Predators captain Roman Josi

"I think the team has really provided itself with a lot of hard evidence that if we play the game a certain way ... I think we're hard to play against." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan


Predators projected lineup

Calle Jarnkrok -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Filip Forsberg -- Matt Duchene -- Mikael Granlund

Rocco Grimaldi -- Kyle Turris -- Craig Smith

Colin Blackwell -- Nick Bonino -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- Dante Fabbro

Jarred Tinordi -- Matt Irwin

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Yannick Weber

Injured: Colton Sissons (lower body), Dan Hamhuis (upper body)


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Evgeni Malkin -- Bryan Rust

Dominik Kahun -- Jared McCann -- Alex Galchenyuk

Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Brandon Tanev

Dominik Simon -- Joseph Blandisi -- Patric Hornqvist

Jack Johnson -- Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson -- John Marino

Juuso Riikola -- Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Murray

Tristan Jarry

Scratched: Kevin Czuczman, Sam Lafferty

Injured: Sidney Crosby (core muscle surgery), Nick Bjugstad (core muscle surgery), Brian Dumoulin (ankle surgery), Justin Schultz (lower body)


Status report

Sissons and Hamhuis each left in the first period Friday. 


Stat pack

Granlund is two goals from 100 in the NHL. ... Malkin has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past seven games and 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 13 games against Nashville.

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