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Predators also expect Spaling back vs. Penguins

by John Manasso

NASHVILLE -- In addition to franchise goaltender Pekka Rinne, center Nick Spaling was expected to return to the Nashville Predators lineup on Tuesday for the first time since Jan. 31, after suffering a lower-body injury.

When he was injured, Spaling had had three goals and three assists in his past seven games. Spaling's nine goals last season were tied for fourth on the team.

"Nick brings a pretty complete game," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "[Spaling] was having a pretty solid offensive and defensive year. Obviously, he got hurt right before the Olympics. He was playing with a lot of confidence. He's a guy that has good instincts. He doesn't cheat on the ice. He plays the game 200 feet. … He will help the penalty kill, he'll help our depth, all those things."

Trotz did not say which forward would come out of the lineup against the Pittsburgh Penguins to make room for Spaling. One possibility is Matt Cullen, who had been banged-up but Trotz said Cullen was "good to go."

Here are the projected lineups for the Penguins and Predators:


Chris KunitzSidney CrosbyBrian Gibbons

Jussi JokinenEvgeni MalkinJames Neal

Taylor PyattBrandon SutterTanner Glass

Craig AdamsJoe VitaleDeryk Engelland

Olli MaattaMatt Niskanen

Brooks OrpikRob Scuderi

Simon DespresRobert Bortuzzo

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Chuck Kobasew

Injured: Kris Letang, Paul Martin


Gabriel BourqueDavid LegwandCraig Smith

Colin WilsonMike FisherPatric Hornqvist

Eric NystromNick Spaling - Viktor Stalberg

Rich ClunePaul GaustadSimon Moser

Roman JosiShea Weber

Michael Del ZottoRyan Ellis

Mattias EkholmSeth Jones

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Devan Dubnyk, Matt Cullen, Victor Bartley

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