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Preview: Predators at Red Wings

Dylan Larkin likely to move from center to wing for Detroit, Pekka Rinne in goal for Nashville

by Dave Hogg / NHL.com Correspondent

PREDATORS (1-2-0) at RED WINGS (2-2-0)

7:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, TVA Sports, FS-D, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 

Predators team scope

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne's play has rebounded after he finished last season with a career-low .908 save percentage and allowed a League-high 161 goals. Two starts into the new season, he has a 2.03 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. Rinne is scheduled to play against Detroit in the Predators' final visit to Joe Louis Arena before the Red Wings move into Little Caesars Arena next season. "Pekka is one of the best goaltenders in the league, but every superstar has ups and downs," coach Peter Laviolette said. "The thing for a goalie is that, like a quarterback or a pitcher, you are always under the spotlight, so people notice. He's the same goalie he's been for us."

 

Red Wings team scope

Coach Jeff Blashill is making some changes after the Detroit Red Wings were outshot 33-18 on Wednesday in a 2-1 road win against the New York Rangers. Blashill said he's likely to switch Dylan Larkin from center to wing on a line with Justin Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen. Larkin has one assist and is minus-5 through four games. "We're thinking about it, because we want to find a way to spark his offense," Blashill said. "Playing on the wing is one way we can make that happen." Also, Forward Steve Ott moves back onto the fourth line in place of Andreas Athanasiou, and Ryan Sproul replaces Xavier Ouellet on defense. It will be the second NHL appearance for Sproul; the other came against the St. Louis Blues on April 13, 2014. "It's obviously been a long time," he said after the morning skate. "I just want to go out there and play a simple game. If offensive chances come, that's great, but I have to avoid mistakes."

 

Predators projected lineup

James Neal -- Mike Fisher -- Colin Wilson

Kevin Fiala -- Ryan Johansen -- Filip Forsberg

Viktor Arvidsson -- Mike Ribeiro -- Craig Smith

Cody Bass -- Colton Sissons -- Calle Jarnkrok

Roman Josi -- P.K. Subban

Mattias Ekholm -- Ryan Ellis

Matt Carle -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Marek Mazanec

Scratched: None

Injured: Anthony Bitetto (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (upper body)

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Justin Abdelkader -- Frans Nielsen -- Dylan Larkin

Tomas Tatar -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Riley Sheahan

Thomas Vanek -- Darren Helm -- Gustav Nyquist

Drew Miller -- Luke Glendening -- Steve Ott

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Jonathan Ericsson -- Alexey Marchenko

Brendan Smith -- Ryan Sproul

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: Xavier Ouellet, Andreas Athanasiou

Injured: Niklas Kronwall (knee), Tomas Jurco (back)

 

Status report

The Predators held an optional morning skate Friday, with about a dozen players taking part. … Mrazek will start despite Howard's sensational 32-save performance in the win at New York. Howard is expected to start Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.

 

Who's hot

Johansen leads the Predators with four points (all assists) in three games. He has taken four shots without scoring. … Vanek has six points in Detroit's first four games, largely serving as a power-play specialist. Vanek tied the game in New York early in the second period with a power-play goal, but played three 5-on-5 shifts in the final 33 minutes.

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