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Predators face rare home finale with no playoffs ahead

by John Manasso /

NASHVILLE -- For seven of the past eight seasons, the final regular-season home game represented a leaping off point for the Nashville Predators to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

This season, that will not happen. The Predators missed the playoffs for a variety of reasons -- some of which will be reflected when the team suits up Tuesday against the Calgary Flames at Bridgestone Arena. Two of the team's top-six forwards, Mike Fisher and Patric Hornqvist, remain out, too injured to play, although they participated in the team's morning skate.

Nonetheless, it appears the fans will have an opportunity to give starting goalie Pekka Rinne a sendoff until next season; he'll get the start in goal.

"It's sort of closure at home here," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "Our fans have been fantastic. The last couple of years we've filled this building. We had 28 straight sellouts this year (dating back to last season). Then we had that week where we had four home games. That sort of put a damper on that in terms of sellouts. They've come out and supported us even in tough times. We haven't been really good with a number of injuries."

Trotz cited a game on April 15 against the Vancouver Canucks -- the Predators were eliminated from the playoffs that night, but fought back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it. At that point, the fans showed their appreciation with a standing ovation during a timeout, something that has become a trademark at the arena.

"Those are things you love about your fans and this market," Trotz said.

Here are Tuesday's projected lineups:


Sergei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Daniel Bang

Kevin Henderson - David Legwand - Filip Forsberg

Bobby Butler - Chris Mueller - Matt Halischuk

Rich Clune - Austin Watson - Craig Smith

Shea Weber - Roman Josi

Kevin Klein - Victor Bartley

Jonathon Blum - Hal Gill

Pekka Rinne

Chris Mason

Out: Mike Fisher, Patric Hornqvist, Taylor Beck, Gabriel Bourque, Paul Gaustad, Brandon Yip


Ben Hanowski - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Sven Baertschi - Mikael Backlund - Mike Cammalleri

Carter Bancks - Paul Byron - Lee Stempniak

Maxwell Reinhart - Roman Horak - Jiri Hudler

Mark Giordano - Cory Sarich

TJ Brodie - Mark Cundari

Chris Butler - Brett Carson

Miikka Kiprusoff

Joey MacDonald

Out: Curtis Glencross, Alex Tanguay, Ben Street, Anton Babchuk, Akim Aliu, Dennis Wideman, Steve Begin, Blair Jones, Brian McGrattan, Roman Cervenka, Leland Irving

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