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Penguins-Predators Preview @NHLdotcom
Penguins-Predators Preview

GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (11-24-9) at Nashville Predators (27-12-5).

TIME: Sunday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Nashville Predators may have just the remedy to get back to their winning ways.

The Predators, who have dropped seven of their last 10 games, meet the Eastern Conference's weakest team in the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Predators are 4-0-1 in their last five meetings with the Penguins, outscoring them 25-8.

Nashville is coming off a loss in improbable fashion with a 5-4 overtime setback Friday to the Carolina Hurricanes. Martin Erat scored twice as the Predators rallied from a two-goal first-period deficit, but goaltender Tomas Vokoun gave up the game-winner on a penalty shot by Frantisek Kaberle.

"That's the way things go once in a while," said Predators defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who snapped his 16-game goal drought on Friday. "We were bad in the first period. There were too many chances for them, and when you fall back 3-1, it's hard to come back against a good team."

Steve Sullivan has three goals and two assists during a four-game points streak. He is on pace for a 45 goals this season, which would shatter his career-best 34 set during the 2000-01 season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Vokoun is a 4-3-2 record with a 2.17 goals-against average, two shutouts, and a .922 save percentage in nine career games against the Pens.

Pittsburgh has lost five in row to fall to 3-7-3 under coach Michel Therrien after a 4-1 loss Friday the Blackhawks.

"When a team struggles like we're doing right now, I think intention is there, but we're a fragile team," Therrien said. "It seems when we face adversity our mental toughness has not been there."

Therrien has been highly critical of his team through the losing skid. After a 3-1 loss Tuesday to the Edmonton Oilers, he said his team's performance was "pathetic."

Pittsburgh lost 6-1 the next night to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Penguins have been outscored 23-10 during the slide, with Michel Ouellet and Ryan Malone leading the way with three goals each.

Pittsburgh's leading scorer and rookie sensation Sidney Crosby has been held without a goal in the last five games, which is approaching a season-high seven-game slide from Oct. 15-Nov. 1.

STANDINGS: Penguins - 31 points, 5th place, 32 PB, Atlantic Division. Predators - 59 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Crosby, 21 goals, 49 points and 64 PIM; Zigmund Palffy, 30 assists. Predators - Sullivan, 22 goals; Paul Kariya, 28 assists; Sullivan and Kariya, 41 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 100 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Penguins - Power play: 17.1 percent (47 for 275), 17th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.7 percent (233 for 296), 29th. Predators - Power play: 18.3 percent (52 for 284), 12th. Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (247 for 290), 5th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Marc-Andre Fleury (5-11-3, 0 SO, 3.20 GAA); Sebastien Caron (5-3-3, 0, 3.95). Predators - Vokoun (21-9-4, 1, 2.63); Chris Mason (5-2-1, 0, 2.95).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Predators, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: March 4, 2004; Predators, 9-4. At Pittsburgh, Dan Hamhuis scored a goal and four assists and Adam Hall added two tallies as the Predators recorded a franchise record for goals scored in a game.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 5-13-4 on the road; Predators - 17-5-0 at home.

Associated Press
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