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Preds eye first 3-game win streak vs. Maple Leafs
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators will try for their first three- game winning streak of the season on Thursday, but they'll have to do it against a Toronto team that shut them out earlier this season.
The Predators will aim for a bit of revenge when they visit the Maple Leafs for a battle at Air Canada Centre. Nashville hosted Toronto back on Oct. 10 and was handed a 4-0 setback. Jonathan Bernier stopped 36 shots to notch the shutout for the Leafs, while Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk each had a goal to lead the offense.
Pekka Rinne, who is currently sidelined following hip surgery, surrendered all four goals in the October meeting, as Nashville fell for the third time in the last four meetings against Toronto.
The Preds are entering Thursday's rematch having won their last two outings. Nashville halted a four-game slide with Saturday's shocking 7-2 rout over visiting Chicago and then hit the road to pick up Tuesday's 2-0 victory in Detroit. Gabriel Bourque and Shea Weber each had a goal for the Predators in the win over the Red Wings.
Rookie goaltender Marek Mazanec earned the victory in each of Nashville's last two games, stopping 39-of-41 shots against the Blackhawks before making 27 stops in his first career shutout on Tuesday.
Mazanec expects to again get the start over Carter Hutton on Thursday. Neither goaltender has ever faced the Maple Leafs.
Thursday's game in Toronto also ends a road-heavy part of the schedule for the Preds. Nashville is playing its ninth road tilt in 10 games tonight, but will play six of its next seven in Music City.
The Predators are 5-7-1 on the road this season compared to a 5-2-1 mark at home.
The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, are 2-0 at the start of a five-game homestand, giving Toronto an impressive 8-2-0 record at the ACC this season.
After recording a 4-2 win over Buffalo on Saturday, the Maple Leafs downed the New York Islanders by a 5-2 score on Tuesday. Kessel scored twice and Trevor Smith added a goal and two assists to help the Leafs down the Isles.
Mason Raymond and David Clarkson notched a goal apiece, while Joffrey Lupul registered three assists for the Leafs, who had lost four of five prior to recording consecutive wins.
Clarkson recorded his first goal with the Leafs after signing a seven-year, $36.75 million contract with the club over the summer.
"It does feel good, I guess, to get some people off my back a little bit," Clarkson joked.
Bernier backstopped Tuesday's victory with 35 saves. With an 8-1-0 record and a 1.67 goals against average in nine career games against Nashville, Bernier could get the call over James Reimer again on Thursday. Reimer has never faced the Preds.
The Leafs will get Nazem Kadri back tonight, as the forward has completed a three-game suspension for hitting Niklas Backstrom in the head during a collision on Nov. 13.
Kadri has five goals and nine assists in 14 games this season and has two assists in two career outings against Nashville.
11/21 11:12:03 ET
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