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Game Day: Penguins vs. Preds

by Nashville Predators / Nashville Predators

(3-2-1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators (5-0-2)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game

The Nashville Predators will look to continue their streak of seven-straight games with at least one point to open the season when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena, the Pens lone trip to Music City this season.

It'll be the first meeting between the two clubs since the deal at the NHL Draft in June that saw Nashville send forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to Pittsburgh in exchange for James Neal.

Neal, who potted his fifth career hat trick on Thursday night against Chicago in a 3-2 Predators win, leads his current club in goals with five. Neal played 199 regular-season games with the Penguins from 2010-14, notching 89 goals and 95 assists to total 184 points.

Saturday also happens to be James Neal bobble head night in Nashville, with the Preds holding a 3-0-(2)-0 record all-time when hosting such a giveaway.

On the other bench, Hornqvist is ranked second on the Penguins in points with eight to his credit (4g-4a) and has been skating alongside Sidney Crosby thus far in 2014-15. Spaling recorded his first goal in a Pittsburgh sweater last Wednesday night against Philadelphia.

A number of Predators forwards possess impressive numbers against the Pens, including the likes of newcomers Derek Roy, Olli Jokinen and Mike Ribeiro. In 27 career games against Pittsburgh, Roy has 17 points (7g-10a), Jokinen has recorded 38 points (19g-19a) in 38 games and Ribeiro produces at over a point-per-game pace, with 27 points (9g-18a) in just 22 career games against the Penguins.

Nashville carries a 9-7-3 record all-time against Pittsburgh, including a 6-3-1 advantage in Tennessee.

Morning Skate Lines:

Predators Forwards:
Forsberg—Ribeiro—Neal

Wilson—Roy—Smith

Jokinen—Jarnkrok—Beck

Nystrom—Gaustad—Stalberg

Extra: Clune—Cullen*—Bourque

*On Injured Reserve

(Mike Fisher also skated this morning and rotated on a line with Clune and Bourque.)

Defensemen:
Josi—Weber

Volchenkov—Jones

Ekholm—Ellis (Bartley rotated)

Goalies:
Rinne
Hutton

Penguins Forwards: (via @penguins)
Kunitz—Crosby—Hornqvist

Dupuis—Malkin—Comeau

Spaling—Sutter—Downie

Sill—Goc—Adams

Defensemen:
Ehrhoff—Martin

Maatta—Letang

Scuderi—Despres (Bortuzzo rotated)

Goalies:
Fleury
Greiss

Quotables:


Patric Hornqvist on returning to Nashville:

"It feels weird to come here, this early in the season too. I spent six great years here and it was nice to see the boys last night and it's going to be fun to play against them tonight."

Hornqvist on going to the net against Shea Weber:

"It'll be a little different the first time I see Webs next to me. Usually we were teammates and now we're enemies so it's going to be a little weirder but I'm still going to go to the net and play hard."

Nick Spaling on playing against Weber tonight:


"It'll be fun...well maybe not so fun. I know he's a competitor. He plays hard and for many years he's been a good guy to have on your team. He's tough to play against, so it's going to be a little strange seeing the other side of him and having to go through him."

Predators locker room video: James Neal, Pekka Rinne and Roman Josi


Coach presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette


What to watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown


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