NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, January 8th
(All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (20-17-4) at Nashville Predators (17-19-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will attempt to win back-to-back
games tonight for the first time in nearly two months in a road clash with the
Nashville Predators at the Sommet Center.
Pittsburgh has failed to put together any type of winning streak since posting
six straight wins from November 1-15. The Penguins are just 9-13-2 in 24 games
since and had lost a season-high five straight games -- all in regulation --
prior to winning Tuesday's home contest versus Atlanta.
Petr Sykora tallied twice to lead Pittsburgh past the Thrashers, 3-1. Sidney
Crosby scored his first goal in five games while Evgeni Malkin added three
assists for the Penguins. Malkin hasn't scored in a season-high nine straight
games, though he does have eight assists in that span. The Russian still leads
the NHL with 48 assists and 63 points.
Pittsburgh's losing streak was costly, as it is currently fourth in the
Atlantic Division, five points back of third-place New Jersey.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots to end a personal four-start skid, posting
his first win since December 26 at New Jersey. Fleury is 1-1-0 with a 1.23
goals against average in two games lifetime versus Nashville, one of those
contests a start. He has halted 42-of-44 shots in his career versus the
Ruslan Fedotenko scored an unlikely win in a fight with current Atlanta
forward and former Penguin skater Colby Armstrong in the first period of
Tuesday's test, but suffered a hand injury in the scrap and is questionable
for tonight. Pascal Dupuis is also questionable due to an undisclosed injury
suffered against the Thrashers.
The Penguins bring an 11-8-2 road record into tonight's game and begin a
three-game road trip tonight.
Pittsburgh faces a Nashville club that itself has dropped a season-worst five
straight games and also 10 of its last 13. The Predators will try to avoid
their first six-game skid since doing so from October 10-23, 2007.
The Predators' tumble includes setbacks in the first three games of their
current five-game homestand that will wrap Saturday against Chicago. Nashville
is 10-7-1 as the host this year.
The Preds have been outscored 17-7 over their losing streak and have failed to
score more than two goals in any of those games. Nashville is last in the
Western Conference with just 2.36 goals per game this season.
However, Nashville has had success lighting the lamp versus Pittsburgh. The
Preds have outscored the Pens 31-16 over the last seven meetings, winning six
of those contests. That includes a 9-4 win in the Steel City back in 2004.
Pittsburgh did notch a 4-1 home win on February 6, 2007 in the last meeting
between the teams to halt a six-game series slide, but has still lost five
straight in Nashville.
In the Predators' Tuesday contest versus Colorado, rookie forward Ryan Jones
had the lone Nashville goal in a 2-1 loss, a tally that came on the same day
he was recalled from the minor leagues.
Pekka Rinne was solid for the Predators, allowing two goals on 21 shots, but
still lost his fourth straight start. Rinne hasn't won since December 20,
while fellow goaltender Dan Ellis has allowed seven goals in losing his last
Neither goaltender has ever faced Pittsburgh before.
Defenseman Shea Weber played in his 200th career game and was named an All-
Star reserve for the Western Conference on Wednesday.
01/08 10:34:43 ET