Game 61 Preview: Penguins Vs. Predators
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NASHVILLE (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak when they hit the road to take on the Nashville Predators tonight.
The Penguins are coming off a rather lackluster performance in the Stadium Series game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
Chicago dominated the game and fully earned a 5-1 victory. The Penguins failed to adjust to the snowy conditions and paid for it, despite a rather solid performance by Marc-Andre Fleury.
While Fleury allowed five goals, he was on his own little island for much of the game. The score could have been 5-0 after the first period alone, if not for Fleury.
However, today is a new day and it presents a new challenge in the form of the Nashville Predators.
Nashville (26-25-10) enters tonight’s game sitting in last place in the Central Division, but they are only six points out of a playoff spot.
But, they’ve been without star goaltender Pekka Rinne (4-4-1, 2.31 GAA. 917 save percentage) for almost the entire season. Rinne had surgery on his hip following an E. coli infection in October.
In fact, the last time he suited up for Nashville was on Oct. 22, but he’ll return to the lineup tonight.
Against the Penguins, Rinne is 1-1-1 with a 3.74 GAA and a ,873 save percentage in three career appearances.
David Legwand (10 goals, 30 assists) and Shea Weber (15 goals, 25 assists) lead the team with 40 points.
Craig Smith leads the team with 18 goals.
For Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby continues to lead the team with 80 points (29 goals, 51 assists). He also leads the NHL scoring race by 11 points over Phil Kessel.
Evgeni Malkin is second on the team with 60 points (18 goals, 42 assists) in 11 fewer games than Crosby.
In goal, Fleury (31-14-3, 2.34 GAA, .915 save percentage) will be looking to add to his league-leading win total of 31. Against the Predators, Fleury is 4-2-1 with a 2.08 GAA and a .921 save percentage.
The Penguins won 4-1 in the only other meeting between these two clubs on Nov. 15. Pascal Dupuis, James Neal, Kris Letang and Brandon Sutter scored for the Penguins.
This will also be the last game before the 3 p.m. NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday. The Penguins are certainly in need of some help among the bottom six forwards. They could also use a winger to play with Crosby and Chris Kunitz.
Will General Manager Ray Shero get all the pieces he needs, or only do some minor tinkering? Time will tell, but the team could look different when they take the ice on Thursday in San Jose.
The puck is set to drop in Nashville at 8 p.m. and you can watch the game on Root Sports.
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