7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Most of the time when you see the Nashville Predators are on the schedule you pretty much think it is going to be a push over and that the game isn't going to be very exciting and if you had some laundry to do or if you had some house chores to take care of you could do that and not have to keep your full attention on the game. Not anymore.
The Predators are sitting at fifth in the Western Conference and are only one point behind Detroit for the fourth spot and home ice advantage. Not a bad team. It also doesn't hurt that the Predators are a pretty talented team with stud goaltender Pekke Rinne and defenseman Ryan Sutter and Shea Weber. While the sound of people talking about Nashville being good at hockey might seen foreign, it is real. This is a good team and they are going to make some noise in the playoffs.
The Penguins are looking to clinch a playoff berth as they only need one point to do so. That could come from a win or getting to overtime or a loss by Buffalo. The Pens are also still in a tough fight for first place in the conference with New Jersey who was able to grab an overtime victory last night over Detroit so they are not making it very easy.
The big news in this game is that it will be the return of Alexander Radulov to the Nashville lineup. Radulov was a part of the Nashville team many years ago but left to make a boatload of cash over in Russia for the last four seasons. He was still under contract for the Preds when he left for Russia so he still had time under his contract so he decided to come back and play out the rest of his rookie contract. He is a huge talent and pretty much dominated the KHL so it is going to be a huge offensive boost for a Nashville team that is led by Martin Erat with only 57 points.
Despite not having a player that is over 60 points the Predators have scored 209 goals this season so they are a team that can put the puck into the net. Should be a good time.
The last time they met:
October 21, 2010 - Pittsburgh 4, Nashville 3 (OT)
The Penguins probables (via Empty Netters):
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Steve Sullivan - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Sidney Crosby - Tyler Kennedy
Eric Tangradi - Craig Adams - Arron Asham
Kris Letang - Paul Martin
Brooks Orpik - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury
The Predators probables (via Empty Netters):
Alexander Radulov - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Andrei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Jordin Tootoo
Brandon Yip - Craig Smith - Matt Halischuk
Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Jack Hillen - Hal Gill
Francis Bouillon - Kevin Klein