HURRICANES (12-23-4) at PREDATORS (25-9-4)
TV: SPSO, FS-TN
NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators will try to atone for a 2-1 loss earlier in the season against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena.
Carolina was able to shut down Nashville's offense in the previous game on Dec. 2 at PNC Arena. Nashville knows it must bring a better effort against Carolina on Tuesday.
"I thought we played OK," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "We played good, we didn't play great. I thought Carolina played a really good game. They were hard-working and executed well, and they were tight defensively. They didn't allow us to generate a lot, so you've got to give some credit to them because I think they played a good game. We need to be better, we can be better and we've got to be ready for that."
The Predators are coming off a road trip in California against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks where they squandered two late leads, including a 6-3 lead against the Kings with less than three minutes remaining in regulation of an eventual 7-6 overtime win. The Predators got three of four points on the trip but know they have to be better at holding leads.
"The L.A. game was something special," Predators forward Filip Forsberg said. "That's not going to happen hopefully ever again in my career that we lose that lead with that time left. We've just got to keep defending a little bit better and maybe keep it a little more simple in the end."
The Hurricanes are looking to get off to a fast start after posting a 3-18-2 record on the season when they allow the first goal. Scoring the first goal will be a big point of emphasis against the Predators.
"Against a team like this, especially a good team like that on the road, you don't want to spot them five or 10 minutes in to the game because they're going to make you pay," Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner said. "We've got to have a good start and then work for that first one."
Carolina has won two in a row and two of three games when forward Jordan Staal has been in the lineup. His return has allowed Carolina to make adjustments to the lineup that have strengthened the team.
"We're a little bit different with Jordan in the lineup," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "Obviously it allows Eric [Staal] to be a winger and gives us a little bit more size down the middle. That's helped our team. We're relatively healthy. We've got guys working hard trying to get back into the lineup, so I think we have some real good internal competition right now that's making everybody be sharp."
Carolina is in the midst of its fathers' trip and many will attend the game against Nashville. Skinner believes it will make the game more special than usual.
"It's a cool feeling," Skinner said. "My dad has been on a couple of them, and I think it's always sort of a cool feeling to play in front of him and go on the road with him. He gets to see sort of a day in the life and how we do things. Hopefully we can get a win for them because that would be a lot more fun."
Here are the projected lineups:
Eric Staal – Jordan Staal – Elias Lindholm
Nathan Gerbe – Victor Rask – Jiri Tlusty
Jeff Skinner – Riley Nash – Chris Terry
Brad Malone – Jay McClement – Patrick Dwyer
Andrej Sekera – Justin Faulk
Ron Hainsey – Brett Bellemore
Tim Gleason – Ryan Murphy
Scratched: Alexander Semin, Zach Boychuk, Michal Jordan
Injured: John-Michael Liles (illness), Andrej Nestrasil (upper body)
Filip Forsberg – Mike Ribeiro – Craig Smith
Colin Wilson – Mike Fisher – Olli Jokinen
Gabriel Bourque – Calle Jarnkrok – Mark Arcobello
Eric Nystrom – Paul Gaustad – Viktor Stalberg
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis
Anton Volchenkov – Seth Jones
Scratched: Victor Bartley
Injured: James Neal (lower body), Matt Cullen (upper body), Taylor Beck (illness)
Status report: Beck skated for the Predators at the morning skate but is not ready to return to the lineup. … Neal was absent from the morning skate and is still listed as day-to-day.
Who's hot: Malone has one goal and one assist in the past two games and also leads Carolina with 45 penalty minutes. … Ellis has four points in the past two games and has played well on Nashville's power play.