NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 17th
(All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (16-8-6) at New Jersey Devils (9-19-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators have turned their fortunes around
with their play over the last few weeks. The New Jersey Devils hope an
impressive win in their last outing can be the impetus needed to turn their
The Devils will try to record consecutive victories for just the second time
this season when they host the surging Predators tonight at the Prudential
New Jersey won its first game this month with Wednesday's 3-0 victory over the
visiting Phoenix Coyotes. The victory ended a five-game slide for the Devils,
who are 14th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference with 20 points this
Ilya Kovalchuk scored two goals in Wednesday's win after notching just one
marker in his previous 12 games. The star winger now has seven goals on the
year in the first season of a 15-year, $100 million contract signed this
Martin Brodeur made 29 saves for his third shutout of the season and the
legendary netminder extended his NHL record for career blankings to 113.
Brodeur had 10 saves in the first period, 11 in the second and eight in the
third to lead New Jersey to its first win since Nov. 27.
"We know we have a lot of work to do, but when you win it makes it nice for
the time being," said Brodeur. "We all know that the position we are in isn't
fun, but tonight was fun."
Mark Fayne scored his first NHL goal, while Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias
tallied two assists apiece.
Tonight marks the end of a three-game homestand for the Devils, who are 5-7-2
in Newark this season.
This evening's test also represents centerman Jason Arnott's first game
against Nashville since he was traded to New Jersey this past summer. Arnott,
who is in his second stint with the Devils, spent four years with the
Predators beginning with the 2006-07 season.
Nashville, meanwhile, has set a season-best with four straight wins and Barry
Trotz's club has also gone nine straight games without a regulation loss,
posting a 7-0-2 mark during that run. The recent hot streak has pushed the
Predators into a tie for the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
The Preds completed a perfect three-game homestand with Wednesday's regulation
win over San Jose. Colin Wilson scored the game-winner with 2:32 left to play
in the third period to help Nashville defeat the Sharks, 3-2, at Bridgestone
Nashville rallied during the third period with a pair of goals within 44
seconds of each other. Sergei Kostitsyn scored the game-tying goal, while
Jordin Tootoo posted a second-period tally.
Anders Lindback turned away 25-of-27 shots to improve his record to 5-0-1
since he replaced Pekka Rinne, who suffered a knee injury at the beginning of
"It's just building our confidence and we know we can turn it around in these
kind of games," Lindback said.
Preds winger Patric Hornqvist missed Wednesday's game with an upper-body
injury. He was a late scratch after scoring two goals in Nashville's previous
game against the New York Islanders. Hornqvist is expected to miss tonight as
will fellow forward David Legwand, who has sat out the last three games with a
The Predators recalled forward Steve Begin from their AHL affiliate in
Milwaukee to play in tonight's contest. Begin, who has 100 points in 486
career NHL tilts, hasn't played in the NHL since suiting up for Boston in last
Nashville has an 8-7-1 record as the guest this year and has won two of its
last three on the road. The Preds, who will host Los Angeles tomorrow, will
alternate road and home tests over their next eight games.
The Devils and Preds split a pair of meetings in 2009-10, but tonight marks
the only scheduled contest between the clubs this season. New Jersey has taken
two of three and six of nine overall in this series and Nashville has lost two
of its last three in the Garden State.
12/17 10:57:27 ET