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Predators try to push point streak to 14

Nashville hasn't lost in regulation since Feb. 9; Nakladal back for Calgary

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

PREDATORS (34-21-12) at FLAMES (27-34-5)

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-TN, NHL.TV

CALGARY -- The Nashville Predators will look to extend their franchise-record point streak to 14 games when they play the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

The Predators pushed their streak to 13 games (9-0-4) with a 4-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Nashville has not lost in regulation since Feb. 9.

The Predators did not have a morning skate Wednesday.

"They're a well-balanced hockey club," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "Starting in net and then their blue line … [Roman] Josi, [Shea] Weber. You look up front, well-balanced lines. They work hard and they skate well. [Filip] Forsberg has been on fire for the Predators.

"Anyone can beat you on this team because they all contribute. It's a team that is well built and they play very hard. We know how they play but they always find a way to be very competitive and very successful."

The Predators are eight points ahead of the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Nashville is five points behind the St. Louis Blues for third in the Central Division.

Calgary has won twice in its past 13 games (2-9-2), and are 13 behind Minnesota for the second wild card into the playoffs from the West with 16 games remaining.

Flames defenseman Jakub Nakladal will return to the lineup Wednesday after missing one game because of an eye injury sustained in the second period of a 4-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

"He's back," Hartley said. "He's getting prettier … it's still ugly. He was so lucky it's unbelievable. The end of a stick caught his eye but there was no major eye damage so he's all good. It's great news."

In his first season of hockey in North America, Nakladal has two points and a minus-3 rating in 12 games with the Flames. He has 14 points in 35 games with Stockton of the American Hockey League.

"I see a little bit better than before," Nakladal said. "I thought that I was going to miss a long time and right now that would be bad for me because I want to play every game and it's a better opportunity for me. I know right now it was good luck and this way it's good for me. It's just one game and I'll be back tonight."

The 28-year-old can be an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"I was so sacred that I was going to miss a lot of games because of this but now it's great and I know that I'm ready and I can play," he said. "I'm playing tonight so that's good for me. Every game is very important for me because of next season. I try to focus always for next game and if I play I always try to do my best."

Here are the projected lineups:


Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - James Neal

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith

Miikka Salomaki - Mike Fisher - Viktor Arvidsson

Colin Wilson - Colton Sissons - Austin Watson

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Anthony Bitetto - Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm - Petter Granberg

Carter Hutton

Pekka Rinne

Injured: Gabriel Bourque (upper body), Paul Gaustad (upper body), Eric Nystrom (broken foot)

Scratched: Barret Jackman


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Micheal Ferland

Garnet Hathaway - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Lance Bouma - Sam Bennett - Joe Colborne

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Josh Jooris

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Jyrki Jokipakka - Dougie Hamilton

Tyler Wotherspoon - Jakub Nakladal

Joni Ortio

Jonas Hiller

Injured: Karri Ramo (torn ACL), Ladislav Smid (upper body), Deryk Engelland (lower body)

Scratched: Niklas Backstrom

Suspended: Dennis Wideman

Status update: Hutton could start in the second of back-to-back games for the Predators. Rinne made 23 saves against the Jets on Tuesday. … Wideman will serve the 19th game of a 20-game suspension for conduct that violated Rule 40 (Physical Abuse of Officials) during a game against the Predators on Jan. 27. … Hartley said Engelland is day-to-day because of his injury.

Who's hot: Ribeiro has one goal and seven assists during his five-game point streak. … Forsberg has 14 goals and 22 points in his past 15 games. … Smith has five goals and five assists in a five-game point streak. …Giordano has points in three consecutive games.

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