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The Road Home: Preds Prep For First Home Game of 2011 Preseason

by Bryan Mullen / Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne put it best.

“It’s a weird feeling,” he said.

Rinne was sitting in front of his locker on Saturday morning, a familiar place but an odd situation. The Predators have played four preseason games, but tonight’s against Winnipeg at 7 p.m. CT will be the first at Bridgestone Arena.

“Counting the rookie games, we’ve played six games on the road,” Rinne said. “But I think it’s actually better for our fans to see us for the first time tonight. Our game is a little more ready than it would be in Game 1 of the preseason. Hopefully we can play a good game in front of our fans.”

Playing well in front of opposing fans has been a Predators trend this preseason. Nashville (3-1-0) is one of only three teams to have three victories entering Saturday. The others are Buffalo (3-0-0) and Minnesota (3-0-0). Winnipeg is 1-1-0.

The Predators are coming off a 3-2 win at Carolina on Friday where a prospect-laden group showed tenacity against the Hurricanes.

As for tonight, most of the veterans will be participating and they expect to be right at home, even though there will be a few new wrinkles, including the new gold jerseys.

“The guys are excited to finally be home and in the new jerseys,” Predators forward Jerred Smithson said. “We have some of the best fans in the league and it’s an honor to play in front of them. You just go this like another home game, whether it’s the regular season or the playoffs, you prepare the same. You just put yourself in a position where you can do well out there and do whatever it takes to win.”

The forwards listed on tonight’s playing roster are Smithson, Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist, Sergei Kostitsyn, David Legwand, Chris Mueller, Cal O’Reilly, Nick Spaling, Zack Stortini, Ryan Thang, Jordin Tootoo and Colin Wilson.

The defensemen are Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Teemu Laakso, Jack Hillen, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber.

Rinne and Chet Pickard will handle the goaltending duties.

Tonight’s game will not be broadcast locally on radio, but a live web stream can be seen at

The Predators next home game is Wednesday against the Washington Capitals. Nashville handed Washington a 2-0 shutout in Baltimore on Tuesday. The game will be broadcast on 102.5 The Game and there will also be a web stream at

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