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Predatorial Pregame Warmup: November 15, 2013


Nov 15, 2013

Written by: Kristopher Martel


Last updated: November 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm


Nashville Predators (8-8-2) at Pittsburgh Penguins (11-7-0)
Gametime: 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
Television: SportsSouth
Radio: 102.5 The Game



Nashville Predators - Pekka Rinne (hip), Mike Fisher (lower body - day-to-day, questionable for this evening)

Pittsburgh Penguins - N/A

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Marek Mazanec, 0-1-0, 0 SO, 0.912Sv%, 2.75 GAA


Marc-Andre Fleury, 10-5-0, 1 SO, 0.921Sv%, 2.07 GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Nick Spaling – Based on line pairings from practice this morning, he’ll be on the top line for tonight’s game against the Penguins. He’s played strong over his past two games, both Nashville losses, and his presence in the face-off circle currently sits him at third on the team with a 55.2% win percentage. It should be interesting to see how he plays alongside Colin Wilson and Viktor Stalberg.

Pittsburgh Penguins -

Sidney Crosby – Registering only one point (a powerplay goal on Wednesday against Philadelphia) in his past three games, after rolling off five points in his four games before that, Crosby will have his eyes set at getting back on track against Predators rookie goaltender Marek Mazanec. Crosby leads the league in points with 24 right now. If he’s looking to right the ship, it could be tonight against a reeling Nashville squad.

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

Nashville is reeling off of three straight losses after starting their seven game roadtrip with a 2-0-1 record. Losing to Winnipeg, New Jersey, and the New York Islanders, the Predators ended up snapping a near-franchise record scoreless streak late in the third period against the Islanders in their 3-1 loss on Tuesday. As Nashville tends to play at the level of their competition, I proposed earlier in the week that Nashville could play very strongly against both Pittsburgh this evening and Chicago tomorrow night in Nashville.

While the Predators have only scored one goal in their past three games, it’s almost as if they are due to score a few more here in their next few games, especially registering 14 goals in the first three games of their roadtrip. However, the Predators main issue right now seems to be a lack of quality goaltending. Carter Hutton, who started the first five games of this road trip, has given up 20 goals in that span. Marek Mazanec has been a tad better, only allowing five in his two games between the pipes for Nashville. The Predators have to find some type of solution in net until Pekka Rinne returns, whether it be via the current goaltenders continuing to split duty or via a trade/free agency. If Nashville can’t find a stopgap in net by the time Rinne returns, the season may not be salvageable.

Mike Fisher should be back in the lineup tonight, as he’ll be taking warm-ups, which will be a great boost for Nashville as well.

Pittsburgh Penguins -

Pittsburgh is a direct mirror of Nashville right now, losing their previous three straight games to Philadelphia, St. Louis, and the New York Rangers by a combined score of 9-3. Star player Sidney Crosby was held off the scoresheet before scoring a powerplay goal on Wednesday against the Flyers. The Penguins will be looking to right the ship, just like the Predators, tonight in front of their fans at the Consol Energy Center.

While the Penguins dropped their first game of their losing streak 5-1 against the Blues, they’ve lost two close matchups against the Blues and the Flyers by scores of 2-1 in each.Goaltending, defense, and offense have all been seemingly stagnant for the Penguins in that span, but a matchup against rookie goaltender Marek Mazanec could be exactly what they need.

Via the Penguins, Paul Martin and Kris Letang both appear to be back in the lineup tonight, as well.

Last time out...

On Alexander Radulov’s triumph return to the Nashville Predators, the final score didn’t turn out so well against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Evgeni Malkin netted two goals and James Neal had four assists as the Penguins demolished the Predators by a score of 5-1 on March 22nd, 2012.

One interesting fact...

Nashville set a franchise record by scoring nine goals in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 4th, 2004 in Pittsburg


Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua