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Game Day: Preds vs. Hurricanes

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(16-5-2) Nashville Predators vs. Carolina Hurricanes (7-13-3)
  6 P.M. | PNC Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game

After completing a perfect 4-0-0 homestand, the Nashville Predators are headed back out on the road, this time to the Eastern Conference to face the Carolina Hurricanes. Nashville has won four straight, while Carolina is 1-4-0 in their last five contests.

The Predators were more than content with how the month of November played out, going 10-3 over that span. Two of the reasons for the club's success came in the form of Filip Forsberg and Pekka Rinne. The NHL took note of the outstanding numbers tallied by the rookie and goaltender, by naming Forsberg Rookie of the Month and honoring Rinne with Third Star of the Month accolades.

Forsberg continues to lead the Preds and all League rookies in goals (10), assists (13) and points (23). The Swede also leads the NHL in plus/minus (+20) and paces rookie forwards in time on ice (17:14). Rinne's numbers were equally impressive in the month, posting a 10-1-0 mark, including a 6-0-0 record on home ice. The Finnish netminder's goals-against average (1.82) and save percentage (.933) rank among the League's top tenders, while his 16 wins are first in the NHL.

Nashville has won seven times after giving up the first goal of the game, tied for second in the League in the category. In one-goal games, the Preds have an 11-3-2 record, and the club is first in the NHL in team goals-against average with a 1.96 mark.

Tonight's contest in Carolina will mark Predators General Manager David Poile's 2,400th game as GM of an NHL franchise, having been at the helm in Washington from 1982 to 1997 prior to landing in Nashville to begin the team's inaugural campaign in 1998. Poile is now just three wins away from tying Harry Sinden for second on the NHL's all-time wins as a general manager list.

This is the first of two meetings between the Preds and Canes, with Nashville posting wins in six of its last 10 games against Carolina. Overall, the Predators are 11-6-(1)-1 in 18 all-time matchups against the Hurricanes, including a 4-4-(1)-1 record in Raleigh.

Carolina holds a 4-4-1 record on home ice this season, but is just 3-7-0 in their last 10 outings. Eric Staal, Riley Nash and Justin Faulk all tie for the team lead in points with 15, while Jiri Tlusty has found the back of the net on 10 occasions. Cam Ward has seen the bulk of the work between the pipes for the Canes, posting a 7-8-0 mark thus far.

Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette coached 323 games in parts of five seasons with Carolina from 2003-09. During his first full season in Raleigh, Laviolette won 52 games, earning him runner-up Jack Adams Award honors and coached the Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup championship.

What to Watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown:


Morning Skate Update:

The Preds skated at PNC Arena this morning ahead of tonight's contest. Pekka Rinne is expected to start in goal for Nashville.

Nashville Lines:

Forwards:


Forsberg - Ribeiro - Neal

Wilson - Jarnkrok - Smith

Cullen - Fisher - Jokinen

Nystrom - Gaustad - Beck

Defensemen:

Josi - Weber

Ekholm - Ellis

Volchenkov - Jones


Carolina Lines: (via @ice_chip)

Forwards:


Tlusty - Staal - Lindholm

Gerbe - Nash - Semin

Skinner - Rask - Nestrasil

Boychuk - McClement - Dwyer

Defensemen:

Faulk - Sekera

Liles - Gleason

Hainsey - Jordan

*Cam Ward expected to start in goal.
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