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National Hockey League

 
      ***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
                              Saturday, October 25
                              (All times Eastern)
 
 BUFFALO SABRES (1-7-0) AT SAN JOSE SHARKS (4-3-1), 4 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - For most teams, hosting the lowly Buffalo Sabres would
 present an excellent opportunity to halt a losing streak. The slumping San
 Jose Sharks, however, are not one of those teams.
 
 San Jose hopes to halt a three-game slide when it welcomes the 1-7 Sabres for
 a Saturday matinee, but it will have to do so by snapping a lengthy drought
 against Buffalo.
 
 The Sharks have dropped six straight in this series, and last posted a win
 over the Sabres on Jan. 23, 2010, when San Jose recorded a 5-2 home triumph.
 Buffalo has won three in a row at the Shark Tank since then and has claimed
 four of the past five encounters in Northern California.
 
 San Jose began 2014-15 with a 3-0 record but has just one win since, going
 1-3-1 over that stretch. The club is currently stuck in an 0-3-0 slide after
 consecutive regulation setbacks versus the New York Rangers, Boston and
 Columbus.
 
 The Sharks have surrendered 14 goals over their past three games, and fell 5-4
 to the visiting Blue Jackets on Thursday. San Jose held a 4-3 advantage after
 Logan Couture tallied 8:23 into the third period, but Nick Foligno evened
 things for Columbus over three minutes later. Mark Letestu scored the game-
 winning deflection goal with just 20.7 seconds remaining in regulation.
 
 Antti Niemi turned aside just 23-of-28 shots in the setback, while Joe
 Pavelski scored two goals in the setback.
 
 After the loss, head coach Todd McLellan complained about his team's defensive
 failings.
 
 "You give up five, you're not winning," said McLellan. "Our defensive play
 right now is killing us."
 
 The Sharks last dropped four in a row in the regular season during an 0-3-1
 slide from Dec. 5-8. Of course, San Jose suffered a more infamous 0-4 slide in
 last spring's postseason when it dropped four straight to Los Angeles in the
 opening round to become only the fourth team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 lead
 in the playoffs.
 
 McLellan kept his job after the postseason collapse, but he could be on the
 hot seat should things get worse for the Sharks in the early part of 2014-15.
 
 Even with their poor recent history against the Sabres, however, the Sharks
 should be able to end their slide today. Buffalo has dropped four straight in
 regulation since posting its one win of the season in Carolina on Oct. 14, and
 Ted Nolan's club has been outscored by a combined 11-1 margin during its
 current skid.
 
 The Sabres were shut out for the third time in four games Thursday in Los
 Angeles, as Jonathan Quick made 29 stops to anchor the Kings' 2-0 victory.
 
 Nolan, who earlier in the season compared his rebuilding club to a "pee-wee
 team" following a 5-1 loss to Anaheim on Oct. 13, did his best to put a
 positive spin on Thursday's loss.
 
 "Our last couple of games, our effort has been a lot better," Nolan said.
 
 Jhonas Enroth made 37 saves in the setback and could get the call again today.
 Enroth won his only outing versus San Jose, while backup Michal Neuvirth is
 0-3 with a 3.37 GAA in his career against the Sharks.
 
 The Sabres are playing the third part of a four-game road trip Saturday and
 will head east to close the swing in Tuesday's encounter with Toronto.
 
 
 BOSTON BRUINS (4-5-0) AT TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (3-3-1), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins will try to get by without captain
 Zdeno Chara when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for Saturday's Atlantic
 Division battle at Air Canada Centre.
 
 Chara suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the first period of
 Thursday's loss against the New York Islanders and will be sidelined for the
 next 4-to-6 weeks. For now, the Bruins don't believe surgery will be required.
 
 "It's obviously a blow," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli on
 Friday. "He's one of the premier defensemen in the league, but I'd rather have
 it 4-to-6 weeks than 4-to-6 months."
 
 Boston's star blueliner was hurt while delivering a hit to Islanders forward
 John Tavares. Chara has two goals and an assist through nine games this
 season, his ninth with the Bruins. The 37-year-old captain has been durable
 throughout his tenure in Boston, missing no more than five games in any of his
 previous eight seasons.
 
 Bruins head coach Claude Julien expects to lean heavily on defensemen Dougie
 Hamilton, Torey Krug and Dennis Seidenberg during Chara's absence. The team
 also recalled untested blueliners Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman from its
 American Hockey League affiliate in Providence. Trotman broke into the NHL
 with two games last season, while Morrow, a former first-round pick of the
 Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011, has yet to play at the top level of professional
 hockey.
 
 Boston flunked its first test without Chara, giving up two goals in the first
 10 minutes of the second period to allow New York to grab a 3-1 lead. The
 Bruins played well after that, but the damage was already done as the Isles
 wound up claiming a 3-2 victory.
 
 "You can't win hockey games just by playing a period," Julien said.
 
 Former Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson returned to TD Garden and won Thursday's
 game. Johnson, who served as Tuukka Rask's backup last season, made 14 of his
 30 saves in the third period. Johnny Boychuk also returned to Boston for the
 first time since being traded to the Islanders on Oct. 4.
 
 Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly had the goals for Boston, which fell to 4-5-0 on
 the season after being denied its third straight win. Niklas Svedberg, who has
 replaced Johnson as Rask's backup, stopped 35-of-38 shots.
 
 Toronto hopes to open the 2014-15 season series against the Bruins by picking
 up its third straight regular-season victory over Boston. However, the B's
 have claimed 11 of the past 14 meetings and the Leafs have dropped five of
 their last seven home games versus Boston.
 
 The Maple Leafs did earn a victory their last time out, halting a two-game
 slide with Tuesday's 5-2 triumph over the Islanders. Toronto was scheduled to
 play the following night in Ottawa, but that game was postponed until Nov. 9
 after a shooting Wednesday morning in Canada's capital city. The game was
 called off after a Canadian soldier standing guard at the National War
 Memorial in downtown Ottawa was shot and killed.
 
 The Leafs, Senators and Montreal Canadiens will all stage coordinated tributes
 tonight prior to the start of their respective home games.
 
 Phil Kessel scored twice during a four-goal outburst in the second period of
 Tuesday's win. Kessel, who also posted an assist, has four goals and four
 helpers this season and snapped a two-game point drought in the victory over
 New York.
 
 James van Riemsdyk, Roman Polak and David Clarkson also scored, while Jonathan
 Bernier had 34 saves to record the win. Bernier stopped 24 shots over the last
 two periods after giving up two goals in the first.
 
 "Bernie played well in net for us and we were able to get some goals for him,"
 said Kessel.
 
 Bernier is 1-2-0 with a 4.29 goals against average in four career games
 against Boston, while fellow Toronto netminder James Reimer is 5-5-1 with a
 2.71 GAA in 11 tests versus the Bruins.
 
 Rask boasts a lifetime 9-2-0 mark and 1.64 GAA in 13 appearances in this
 matchup.
 
 
 NEW YORK RANGERS (4-3-0) AT MONTREAL CANADIENS (6-1-0), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - A rematch of last spring's Eastern Conference finals is
 on tap Saturday, as the Montreal Canadiens welcome the New York Rangers to the
 Bell Centre.
 
 The Rangers ousted Montreal in six games for last season's conference title
 before losing to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals. It marked
 New York's first trip to the Cup Finals since winning it all in 1994, while
 the Habs were denied a shot at playing on hockey's stage for the first time
 since their last championship in '93.
 
 Both the Blueshirts and Canadiens are teams built on speed, but New York
 boasts size as well as quickness. Montreal and New York also have two of
 game's best goaltenders in Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist.
 
 Price will face the Rangers for the first time since Game 1 of the conference
 finals. Montreal's No. 1 goaltender was knocked out of the playoffs in that
 contest after suffering a knee injury when New York forward Chris Kreider
 crashed into him at the end of a breakaway. Although Kreider has insisted time
 and again the collision was unintentional, the winger will almost certainly
 receive an icy reception from Canadiens fans tonight.
 
 Not including that fateful playoff game, Price is 8-5-1 with a 2.06 goals
 against average in his career against the Rangers. Lundqvist, who expects to
 start for New York, is 13-11-2 with a 2.84 GAA in 27 regular-season
 appearances versus Montreal.
 
 The Canadiens enter the showdown with a 6-1-0 record and will shoot for a
 fourth consecutive victory on Saturday. Montreal is 3-0 so far on a four-game
 homestand and last played on Tuesday when it notched a 2-1 overtime win
 against Detroit.
 
 David Desharnais scored 56 seconds into the extra session to lift the Habs to
 victory over the Red Wings. After P.K. Subban fired a shot from above the left
 circle, Max Pacioretty took the rebound and had his wrister denied by Jimmy
 Howard. Desharnais gathered the loose puck at the left side of the net and
 swatted a backhander over a falling Howard for the game-winner.
 
 Alex Galchenyuk scored the game-tying goal with 3:09 to play in the third
 period and Price made 27 saves for the win.
 
 "We have great character on this team," Galchenyuk said. "In the third, we
 started going to the net and it paid off for us."
 
 Montreal has won nine of its last 10 home games against the Rangers in the
 regular season and also claimed five of the past six encounters prior to last
 spring's playoff meeting.
 
 The Rangers also enter Saturday with a shot at winning their fourth
 consecutive game. New York also posted an OT win in its last game, posting a
 4-3 comeback win Tuesday night in New Jersey.
 
 New York trailed the Devils 3-1 early in the third period before rallying for
 the win. Kevin Klein's goal with 2:18 remaining in OT capped the furious
 comeback at Prudential Center.
 
 The Rangers forcing overtime on goals by Chris Mueller and Rick Nash and
 Lundqvist also helped bring on the extra session with a 28-save effort that
 included several key stops late in regulation.
 
 "I am just really happy the way we came back," Lundqvist said. "When they
 scored that third one, and the way their power play was playing, it was a
 tough, but we responded in a big way. It was a big two points for us."
 
 Kreider set up Klein's game-winner and scored earlier for New York, while
 Mueller also chipped in an assist in the Rangers' triumph.
 
 New York's next game is against Minnesota on Monday when the Blueshirts kick
 off a four-game homestand. Montreal will begin a three-game road trip the same
 night in Edmonton.
 
 Also, the Canadiens will join the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs in
 coordinated pregame ceremonies prior to the start of their respective home
 games tonight. The teams will be honoring Canadian soldiers who were killed
 earlier this week.
 
 On Wednesday, a gunman shot and killed a Canadian solider standing guard
 at the National War Memorial, then entered Parliament before being shot to
 death.
 
 On Monday, a solider was killed as a man drove into him with a car at a
 building near Montreal.
 
 
 NEW JERSEY DEVILS (3-2-2) AT OTTAWA SENATORS (4-1-0), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - For the second time in recent years, the Ottawa Senators
 watched as hockey took a back seat in response to a national tragedy.
 
 The Senators return from a lengthy layoff caused by recent violence in Canada
 to host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
 
 Ottawa has won four straight games since opening the season with a loss to
 Nashville on Oct. 9, but has not played since beating Columbus 3-2 last
 Saturday. Their home contest against Toronto on Wednesday was postponed due to
 a shooting in downtown Ottawa.
 
 Earlier in the day, a gunman shot and killed a Canadian solider standing guard
 at the National War Memorial, then entered Parliament before being shot to
 death.
 
 On Monday, a solider was killed as a man drove into him with a car at a
 building near Montreal.
 
 Prior to tonight's contest, the Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple
 Leafs will all stage a coordinated tribute prior to starting their respective
 home games.
 
 "As we continue to reflect on the tragic circumstances surrounding the deaths
 of two our country's soldiers on Canadian soil, we do so with heavy hearts"
 said Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in a statement on his team's website.
 "But what doesn't break us, makes us stronger. Today our country stands more
 united than ever and so does the entire NHL family. We are very pleased to
 join forces with the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs in
 coordinating a unique and special tribute prior our game on Saturday in honour
 and recognition of these two brave soldiers, their families and all members of
 our Canadian military."
 
 This is the second time in less than three years that the Senators have had a
 game postponed due to tragedy. They had an April 15, 2012 contest with the
 Boston Bruins postponed because of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. It was
 made up two weeks later to cap the season.
 
 Ottawa, which has given up only seven goals over its winning streak, will cap
 what is now a three-game homestand before visiting the Chicago Blackhawks on
 Sunday.
 
 The Senators have won five of six and eight of their last 12 versus the Devils
 overall as well as three straight and seven of the past eight at home.
 
 The Devils, meanwhile, wrap up games on consecutive nights as they dropped a
 3-2 shootout decision to the visiting Dallas Stars on Friday. The outcome
 extended New Jersey's NHL record losing streak in shootouts to 18 straight.
 
 Cory Schneider made 35 saves, but failed to stop both Jason Spezza and Jamie
 Benn in the tiebreaker.
 
 Damien Brunner and Eric Gelinas lit the lamp for New Jersey, which went
 winless on a three-game homestand and has dropped four in a row overall
 (0-2-2) after opening the season with three straight wins.
 
 "We really felt we needed two points here to end the three-game homestand,"
 said Schneider. "Overall, not too happy with just the one (point)."
 
 The Devils could have forward Martin Havlat back in the lineup tonight. He has
 not played since suffering facial lacerations on Oct. 16.
 
 
 DALLAS STARS (4-1-2) AT NEW YORK ISLANDERS (5-2-0), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders try to get another winning streak
 going on Saturday night as they return home to take on the Dallas Stars.
 
 The Islanders got off to a surprising 4-0 start to the season before getting
 grounded a bit with consecutive losses to Pittsburgh and Toronto. However, New
 York avoided a third straight defeat as it bested the Boston Bruins 3-2 on
 Thursday.
 
 Former Bruins backstop Chad Johnson made 14 of his 30 saves in the third
 period to lead the Islanders, while Johnny Boychuk returned to Boston for the
 first time since getting traded to the Islanders on Oct. 4.
 
 Boychuk, who has two goals and six points through seven games, skated in just
 over 23 minutes of ice time against his former club and had one shot on net.
 
 "It was a tough game, looking across the ice and playing against your
 friends," Boychuk said. "But when you're on the ice, it's business. I'm glad
 we got the two points and we're looking forward to the next game."
 
 Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Cal Clutterbuck scored for the Islanders.
 
 New York saw a swap at defense, with Lubomir Visnovsky making his season debut
 after sitting out the first six games due to a back injury. He stepped in for
 Travis Hamonic, who did not play because of an upper-body injury.
 
 The defenseman could sit out again tonight and the Islanders also lost forward
 Josh Bailey to a broken hand suffered versus the Bruins.
 
 However, forward Mikhail Grabovski practiced on Friday and could return to
 action tonight for New York. He has missed the past three games with a
 concussion.
 
 The Stars come to town riding a five-game point streak that was extended with
 Friday's 3-2 shootout victory over the hosting New Jersey Devils. Jamie Benn
 and Jason Spezza scored in the tiebreaker and Kari Lehtonen did not allow a
 goal in the two rounds.
 
 Benn and Patrick Eaves scored in regulation and Lehtonen finished with 25
 saves as Dallas improved to 4-0-1 in its last five games while impressing head
 coach Lindy Ruff.
 
 "I thought tonight was by far our best game overall," Ruff said. "It looked a
 lot like how we played last year. We eliminated a lot of the mistakes."
 
 Benn scored in his fifth straight game, while Tyler Seguin and Spezza extended
 point streaks with assists on the tally. Seguin has five goals and six assists
 over a five-game run, while Spezza has posted a goal and seven helpers in his
 last four games.
 
 The Islanders won both meetings with the Stars a season ago, with their 7-4
 victory on Jan. 6 snapping a four-game series home losing streak.
 
 
 DETROIT RED WINGS (4-1-2) AT PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (2-3-2), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings will try to take advantage of a
 thin Philadelphia Flyers defense when the clubs meet Saturday in the City of
 Brotherly Love.
 
 The Flyers will play tonight's home game without the services of Braydon
 Coburn and Andrew MacDonald, who will both miss approximately four weeks with
 lower-body injuries, according to an announcement made Friday by general
 manager Ron Hextall.
 
 Coburn has been out since suffering an injury in the season opener against
 Boston on Oct. 8, but was skating with the team for a full week before
 Friday's news. MacDonald, meanwhile, had played in all seven games so far,
 collecting one goal and two assists while averaging almost 23 minutes of ice
 time, second on the team.
 
 The Flyers also have been without defenseman Kimmo Timonen since the start of
 the season. The 39-year-old Timonen is sidelined indefinitely with blood clot
 issues that could be force the Finnish blueliner into retirement.
 
 The injuries on the back end opened the door for prospect Shayne Gostisbehere
 to possibly make his NHL debut Saturday. Gostisbehere, a third-round pick by
 the Flyers in 2012, was recalled Friday from the club's American Hockey League
 affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The 21-year-old Union College product
 led the Dutchmen to an NCAA title last season and was named the Frozen Four's
 most outstanding player.
 
 Philadelphia has won two of its last three games after beginning the season
 with four straight losses, but the club's defense has been a major problem
 with the Flyers surrendering an average of 3.71 goals per game. Philly is
 averaging a stout 3.14 GPG on offense and it may need all the scoring it can
 get with Coburn and MacDonald out of the lineup for the next month.
 
 The Flyers are coming off Wednesday's 5-3 win in Pittsburgh. R.J. Umberger,
 Matt Read and Sean Couturier tallied in the third period to help Philly skate
 past the Penguins and improve its amazing record at Consol Energy Center to
 10-1-1.
 
 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare picked up his first NHL score while defenseman Mark
 Streit also lit the lamp. Ray Emery stopped 22 shots and he could get the
 start over Steve Mason again tonight.
 
 Mason entered this season as Philadelphia's clear No. 1 netminder, but has
 struggled to an 0-3-1 mark and a 3.83 goals against average so far in 2014-15.
 Emery, meanwhile, is 2-0-1 with a 2.84 GAA.
 
 In other injury news for the Flyers, forward Zac Rinaldo is day-to-day with an
 upper-body injury he suffered Wednesday against Pittsburgh. Rinaldo is
 questionable for Saturday's tilt.
 
 Detroit enters Saturday having won three of its last four games and the club
 has earned a point in five straight outings (3-0-2).
 
 The Red Wings' last three games all have been decided in overtime and they are
 coming off Thursday's 4-3 win against visiting Pittsburgh. Justin Abdelkader
 provided the game-winning goal for Detroit, beating Penguins goaltender Thomas
 Greiss over the shoulder with 44 seconds left in OT.
 
 Niklas Kronwall had two goals and an assist and Henrik Zetterberg had a three-
 point night, tallying a goal and two assists for Detroit. Jimmy Howard made 23
 saves in the win.
 
 "We weren't pretty for a lot of the night," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock
 said. "In the end, we were able to get it done."
 
 Zetterberg is off to a sizzling start to the season, registering three goals
 and seven assists in seven games. The Swedish veteran has amassed 16 points
 in 10 career games against the Flyers, posting nine goals and seven assists.
 
 Jonas Gustavsson will get the start in net for Detroit. He is 0-3-1 with a
 3.69 GAA in four career games against the Flyers.
 
 The Flyers have won two straight and three of the last four meetings against
 the Red Wings. Detroit also has lost its last eight games in Philadelphia
 since taking Games 1 and 2 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals in the City of
 Brotherly Love en route to a sweep.
 
 The Red Wings' last regular season victory in Philly came via a 4-1 decision
 on Jan. 25, 1997.
 
 
 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (4-1-1) AT ST. LOUIS BLUES (2-3-1), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Ken Hitchcock has not been pleased with his club's start
 to the season and he'll look for his St. Louis Blues to avoid a third straight
 defeat on Saturday night in a home matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks.
 
 Coming off a 111-point season -- the franchise's best since 1999-2000 -- the
 Blues have just two victories through their first six games of this campaign
 (2-3-1). They followed up a 3-0 loss in Anaheim with a 4-1 setback to the
 visiting Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
 
 Kevin Shattenkirk had the lone goal and Jake Allen made 19 saves in the loss,
 one that saw St. Louis score one goal or fewer for the third time in four
 games.
 
 That left Hitchcock critical of his team's start.
 
 "We're not playing the right way," said Hitchcock. "We've made a heck of a run
 here playing the right way; no odd-man rushes, no forced offense, don't give
 the puck away and make hope-for plays offensively. We've had a shoot-first
 mentality that's allowed us to be top-five in the league in scoring goals, but
 we don't want to play the right way. We want to play a different game right
 now, so until we buy into that, we're going to have some rough water we're
 going to have to go through, and that's what we're in right now."
 
 Following Allen's second start of the season, Hitchcock will go back to Brian
 Elliott tonight. The netminder is 4-5-1 with a 2.29 goals against average and
 .919 save percentage in 11 prior meetings with the Blackhawks, including nine
 starts.
 
 Unlike the Blues, the Blackhawks have gotten off to a solid start, They
 notched a point in each of their first five games (4-0-1) before suffering a
 3-2 regulation setback to Nashville on Thursday.
 
 Ben Smith and Andrew Shaw had the goals and Antti Raanta made 24 saves in his
 second straight start in place of the injured Corey Crawford (upper body).
 
 Shaw knocked in his own rebound to make it a one-goal game with 7:24 left to
 play, but was robbed later in the frame with Raanta pulled for an extra
 attacker.
 
 "I liked the last 20 (minutes). It was our best (period) by a mile,"
 Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We got out of that first period 1-1,
 1-0 with that late goal. I didn't like the goals we gave up in that they were
 preventable. They came at us hard and they get their turn in this building,
 but you get down by two and you put yourself in a tough spot."
 
 Crawford was not expected to travel to Nashville or St. Louis, so Raanta is
 likely to get the call tonight. He gave up five goals on 25 shots in his only
 previous meeting with the Blues, taking a shootout loss on Dec. 28.
 
 The Blues went 3-2-0 versus the Blackhawks last season, winning twice in a
 shootout, and have won the past three encounters at home.
 
 
 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (3-2-1) AT NASHVILLE PREDATORS (5-0-2), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - James Neal is heating up just before a matchup with his
 former club.
 
 Neal and the Nashville Predators try to keep their season-opening point streak
 intact on Saturday night as they play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
 
 The 27-year-old Neal was acquired by the Predators from the Penguins in a
 draft day trade that sent forwards Patrick Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to
 Pittsburgh.
 
 In Neal, Nashville landed a proven scorer to fit into new head coach Peter
 Laviolette's system. The winger had 40 goals and 81 points over 80 games in
 his first full season with Pittsburgh in 2011-12 after being acquired from
 Dallas during the previous campaign, notched 21 goals in 40 games in 2012-13
 and managed 27 goals and 61 points in just 59 contests last season.
 
 "Playing against your old team, playing against the guys you played with for
 so many years, it's going to be different," Neal told Nashville's website.
 "It's going to be weird at the start, but after the first few shifts, it's
 another hockey game. We're out to do a job and just keep what we've built
 going in here."
 
 Neal has potted five goals in his last four games with Nashville, including a
 hat trick in Thursday's 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. He scored in all
 three periods, with Filip Forsberg picking up two assists.
 
 Pekka Rinne made 30 saves for the Predators, who are 5-0-2 on the season to
 post their longest stretch to begin a season without a regulation loss since
 going 5-0-3 in 2010-11.
 
 "The biggest thing for us is we don't feel like we've played our best games
 yet," said Neal. "We're going to continue to get better and continue to work,
 and I think you've just seen the first little bit of the Predators."
 
 Nashville will try to finish up a perfect three-game homestand tonight and
 Rinne figures to start, but is just 1-2-1 lifetime versus the Penguins with a
 3.55 goals against average and .867 save percentage.
 
 Rinne will face former teammates in Hornqvist and Spaling, two Nashville draft
 picks.
 
 Hornqvist played his first 363 NHL games with Nashville, which selected him
 with the final pick of the 2005 draft. He totaled 106 goals and 216 points
 with the Predators and has notched four goals and eight points in six games
 this season.
 
 Spaling, a 2007 second-round pick, logged 40 goals and 84 points in 297 games
 with the Preds. He has a goal and one assist in six games with Pittsburgh.
 
 The Penguins have lost two straight and three of four since winning their
 first two of the campaign. They did get a point last time out, but collapsed
 late in a 4-3 overtime loss to Detroit.
 
 The Red Wings scored twice in the final 2:39 of the third period with an extra
 attacker, then netted the winner with 44 seconds on the clock in overtime.
 
 Pascal Dupuis, Olli Maatta and Chris Kunitz all scored for the Penguins, while
 Thomas Greiss stopped 27-of-31 shots in his season debut. Evgeni Malkin
 extended his season-opening assist streak to six straight games.
 
 "We have to learn from it," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. "Hopefully,
 we put ourselves in position with a two-goal lead more often and do a better
 job to protect it."
 
 Marc-Andre Fleury should return to net tonight for Pittsburgh and is 5-2-1
 with a 1.94 GAA and .923 save percentage lifetime versus Nashville.
 
 The Pens have won four straight against the Predators, who have not won in
 this series since Feb. 14, 2010 in Pittsburgh.
 
 
 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (5-2-1) AT MINNESOTA WILD (3-2-0), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping that Steven Stamkos
 and Jonathan Drouin will emerge as one of the top 1-2 scoring punches in the
 NHL. The duo are sure to be tested on Saturday night as they take on the
 Minnesota Wild given the start goaltender Darcy Kuemper is off to.
 
 Stamkos and Drouin were two of four goal-scorers in Friday night's 4-2 win
 over the Winnipeg Jets, with Ondrej Palat and Vladislav Namestnikov also
 scoring. Stamkos potted his sixth goal of the campaign, while Drouin, the
 third overall pick of the 2013 draft, scored his first career NHL goal while
 adding his second assist of the campaign.
 
 Nikita Kucherov assisted on all three of Tampa Bay's second-period goals and
 Ben Bishop came up with 40 saves as his club improved to 3-1-0 on a five-game
 road trip that ends tonight.
 
 "I'll tell you the one thing I was proud of though is how we played in the
 third," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "I know we got outscored 1-0 in the
 third, but we had grade 'A's, and I didn't think we gave up much."
 
 Drouin was able to return to action despite leaving the game for a bit in the
 first period after taking a hit from behind. However, forwards J.T. Brown
 (upper body) and Brett Connolly (lower body) were not as lucky as they both
 exited early with injury.
 
 Brown and Connolly join a number of other injured Bolts, including Victor
 Hedman (broken right hand), Ryan Callahan (lower body) and Alex Killorn (upper
 body).
 
 The Lightning should see their depth and scoring ability tested tonight if the
 Wild go back to Kuemper in net. The 24-year-old has posted a shutout victory
 in three of his four starts this season, giving up just two goals on 98 shots
 faced total.
 
 Kuemper logged his fifth career shutout with Thursday's 2-0 win over Arizona,
 making 26 saves. Minnesota snapped a two-game slide in what was only its
 second home game of the season. Kuemper stopped all 16 shots he faced in the
 first, a win over Colorado on Oct. 9.
 
 "I'm real fortunate to have the guys playing the way they are in front of me
 defensively," Kuemper said. "I'm kind of reaping the benefits of that."
 
 He was supported by goals from Charlie Coyle and Jason Pominville, while Jared
 Spurgeon assisted on both markers.
 
 Minnesota will be down two defenseman tonight as neither Keith Ballard nor
 Christian Folin will play due to illness.
 
 These two clubs split a pair of meetings last season, with each winning at
 home. Tampa Bay has dropped two straight and six of its last eight in
 Minnesota.
 
 
 FLORIDA PANTHERS (2-2-2) AT ARIZONA COYOTES (2-3-1), 9 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Panthers try to finish off their road trip
 with another victory on Saturday night as they visit the slumping Arizona
 Coyotes.
 
 The Panthers are 2-0-1 on their swing ahead of tonight's finale and are coming
 off an offensive explosion by their standards.
 
 Florida netted just five goals through its first five games, held to a goal or
 fewer in four straight following a season-opening 3-2 loss, but scored twice
 in the first period en route to a 4-3 overtime win against Colorado on
 Tuesday.
 
 Brandon Pirri, Aleksander Barkov and Sean Bergenheim all scored in regulation
 and Brad Boyes put home the game-winner on the power play in the extra
 session. He took a feed from Jonathan Huberdeau while racing in from the blue
 line and fired home his second goal of the season.
 
 Jussi Jokinen added his second assist of the game on the winner and Roberto
 Luongo came up with 30 saves.
 
 "We are getting chances from everybody now," Boyes said. "Tonight we were
 really working well together. We got the pucks in deep and we eliminated their
 speed."
 
 Arizona will try to spoil the end of Florida's road trip and snap its 0-2-1
 skid after getting blanked 2-0 by Minnesota on Thursday. The Wild got a 26-
 save shutout by Darcy Kuemper.
 
 Coyotes netminder Mike Smith came into the game 1-2-0 with a 5.34 goals
 against average and .822 save percentage in three starts this season and
 stopped 27-of-29 shots faced in the loss.
 
 He hopes it was a sign of getting on track.
 
 "It was better," Smith said. "The outcome was disappointing but I definitely
 felt we were in the hockey game at least. That's a positive to come out of
 that. We're headed in the right direction."
 
 Smith is 6-4-3 with a 2.85 GAA and .903 save percentage in his career against
 the Panthers, while Luongo has gone 13-12-2 with a 2.31 GAA, .922 save
 percentage and three shutouts in his career when facing the Coyotes.
 
 Arizona has held Florida to three goals in winning the past three meetings and
 has taken five of the last six encounters overall. The Coyotes are 4-0-2 with
 a tie in their past seven at home versus the Panthers.
 
 
 WASHINGTON CAPITALS (3-1-2) AT CALGARY FLAMES (5-3-1), 10 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals will aim to bounce back from
 their first regulation loss of the season on Saturday night as they visit the
 Calgary Flames.
 
 The Capitals had won two in a row and put together a 3-0-2 record ahead of a
 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. Washington got goals from
 defenseman Mike Green and John Carlson, while Nicklas Backstrom had an assist
 to record his 500th career point.
 
 Braden Holtby made 17 saves in defeat.
 
 "We played good, we just didn't execute," Capitals center Marcus Johansson
 said.
 
 Washington also is set to visit Vancouver on Sunday, so it is unknown if
 Holtby or backup Justin Peters will get the start tonight.
 
 Holtby has allowed six goals on 25 shots in two prior meetings with the Flames
 for a 12.34 goals against average and .760 save percentage, while Peters took
 a post-regulation setback in his only previous meeting with the Flames. He
 gave up two goals on 30 shots.
 
 The Flames play the third contest of a five-game homestand and are 4-1-1 in
 their last six. They lost in overtime to Tampa Bay on Tuesday before blanking
 the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0 on Thursday.
 
 Jonas Hiller recorded his first shutout with Calgary and the 22nd of his
 career after making 16 saves, while defenseman Dennis Wideman scored his
 fourth goal of the season. All four have come in his past five games.
 
 Sean Monahan scored twice, while Matt Stajan and Lance Bouma also tallied.
 
 "To score that many goals is great," Calgary head coach Bob Hartley said. "I
 challenged the players before the game to win the three periods. They did it,
 and they did it in a great fashion."
 
 Despite Hiller's shutout, Hartley will continue his goaltender rotation and
 give Karri Ramo the start tonight. Ramo is 1-3-2 with a 3.11 GAA and .906 save
 percentage in his career versus the Capitals.
 
 The Caps are 8-3-0 with a tie in their last 12 versus the Flames, but lost 5-2
 in their most recent trip to Calgary.
 
 
 
 
 
 10/25 11:00:55 ET

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