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Predators' Hutton to start against Sharks

Nashville's backup goalie gets call, will face San Jose

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

SHARKS (43-29-6) at PREDATORS (39-26-13)

TV: 8 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, FS-TN, NHL.TV

NASHVILLE -- The San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators will be gearing up for the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. 

The Predators clinched a playoff berth Friday after the Washington Capitals got a 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. The Predators want to improve their defensive game heading into the playoffs; they have lost three games in a row.

"You can never be too good playing defensively," Predators forward Filip Forsberg said. "I think that's going to be a big thing for us down the stretch to tighten up a little bit compared to the last few games here."

Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton will start Saturday, giving Pekka Rinne needed rest. Rinne has played 3,776 minutes and 45 seconds this season, which is the second most in the NHL after Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick (3791:09).

"It's a well-deserved start for [Hutton], and it's a well-deserved rest for [Rinne]," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "We've leaned on this guy an awful lot starting back three months ago, two and a half months ago, when we needed to get going in the right direction, and he played terrific for us. [Hutton] was playing excellent too when we needed him. He did a job.

"[Hutton] has been waiting patiently to get a game, and we can give him that game tonight."

The Sharks are focused on balancing playing strong hockey and getting healthy heading into the playoffs. They hope to test themselves against the Predators on Saturday.

"For me right now, the biggest thing is to get into the playoffs feeling good about ourselves," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "Our game has to be in the right place. We have to be playing the right way and also get in healthy. That's always the thing you worry about this time of year over the last three or four games."

Here are the projected lineups:


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Joel Ward

Melker Karlsson - Patrick Marleau - Tommy Wingels

Nick Spaling - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

Dylan DeMelo - Justin Braun

James Reimer

Martin Jones

Scratched: Micheal Haley

Injured: Matt Nieto (hand), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body), Matt Tennyson (concussion)


Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - James Neal

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Viktor Arvidsson

Miikka Salomaki - Paul Gaustad - Colton Sissons

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Petter Granberg

Barret Jackman - Stefan Elliott

Carter Hutton

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Eric Nystrom, Austin Watson

Injured: Ryan Ellis (upper body), Anthony Bitetto (lower body), Gabriel Bourque (upper body)

Status report: The Sharks held an optional skate. Reimer will start. … Wilson will return to the lineup for the Predators after being a healthy scratch in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

Who's hot: Burns has a five-game point streak and has one goal and seven assists in that span. … Neal has eight goals in his past nine games for the Predators and is tied for the team lead with 31 goals.

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