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Penguins split Crosby, Kessel to face Predators

by Robby Stanley

PENGUINS (3-4-0) at PREDATORS (6-1-0)


NASHVILLE -- The Pittsburgh Penguins hope shuffling lines will lead to better results as they play the Nashville Predators on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena.

Pittsburgh will keep the lines it used at practice Friday for the game against Nashville. Forward Patric Hornqvist moved to the first line alongside Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. Phil Kessel moved to the second line alongside Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Plotnikov. The Penguins want to get back to the basics to try and find more offense after scoring 11 goals in their first seven games.

"I just think get back to our game, that's what it is," Hornqvist said. "Battle for each other, win those loose puck battles, block shots and take the puck to the net and do the right things out there. That's what we have to get back to. We can't worry about scoring goals right now. That's going to come if you do the right things. Just go out there and have fun and play for the guy next to you."

Hornqvist will be back in Nashville for the second time since being traded to Pittsburgh. He said games against the Predators still have special meaning for him.

"I was here for six years, and I had a great time here," Hornqvist said. "It's going to be fun tonight to play against my old teammates. I know the fans are going to be loud. It's a great spot to be, and it's going to be a fun night."

The Predators have been happy with their defensive effort as a group. They've been able to limit quality chances and have allowed goaltender Pekka Rinne to see pucks through traffic.

"We're trying to do all the little things right," Predators forward Austin Watson said. "Getting pucks out on the walls and really collapsing to the net. Teams do a great job of getting traffic in front. We want to be able to let [Rinne] see the puck. Obviously he's such a great goaltender that if we can box out and allow him to see the puck, it's going to be a good thing."

Here are the projected lineups:


Pascal DupuisSidney CrosbyPatric Hornqvist

Sergei PlotnikovEvgeni MalkinPhil Kessel

Chris KunitzNick BoninoDaniel Sprong

Bryan RustMatt CullenDavid Perron

Kris LetangIan Cole

Ben LovejoyOlli Maatta

Brian DumoulinRob Scuderi

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Injured: Beau Bennett (undisclosed), Eric Fehr (elbow)

Scratched: Bobby Farnham, Kevin Porter, Adam Clendening


Filip ForsbergMike FisherJames Neal

Colin WilsonMike RibeiroCraig Smith

Gabriel BourqueCody HodgsonCalle Jarnkrok

Eric NystromPaul GaustadAustin Watson

Roman JosiShea Weber

Mattias EkholmRyan Ellis

Barret JackmanSeth Jones

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Injured: None

Scratched: Victor Bartley

Status report: Fleury and Rinne were first off the ice at the morning skates and are expected to start. … The Predators assigned defenseman Anthony Bitetto to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment.

Who's hot: Malkin leads the Penguins with five points. … Neal has eight points in his past four games.

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