NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 28th
(All times Eastern)
Nashville Predators (37-19-7) at Carolina Hurricanes (23-26-13), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators were one of the NHL's most active
teams at Monday's trade deadline as they gear up for what they hope is a deep
playoff run this spring.
The Predators are expected to have their new pieces in place tonight, as they
visit the Carolina Hurricanes for tonight's battle at RBC Center.
Nashville made a pair of deals designed to add offensive punch before Monday's
trade deadline, acquiring forward Andrei Kostitsyn from the Canadiens and
picking up center Paul Gaustad from Buffalo. Kostitsyn cost Nashville a
second-round draft pick and a fifth-round selection in 2013. Gaustad came to
the Preds along with a fourth-round pick 2013 in exchange for a first-round
selection in 2012.
The Preds have made the postseason in six of the last seven seasons, but the
only time they were able to move past the opening round was last spring, when
they bowed out in the Western Conference semifinals against Vancouver.
Kostitsyn joins his younger brother Sergei, also a forward for the Predators,
in the Music City. Andrei, the 10th overall pick of the 2003 draft, had 12
goals and 12 assists in 53 games for Montreal this season.
The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Gaustad is a strong two-way player who has seven
goals, 17 points and 70 penalty minutes in 56 games this season.
The Predators played without their two newest members on Monday evening, but
were still able to post a 2-1 regulation win over Los Angeles. Pekka Rinne
made 30 saves and Patric Hornqvist scored the eventual game-winner for
Nashville, which has won two in a row and has recorded a point in five
straight games (4-0-1).
"I thought he was really good because we weren't as good in front of him,"
Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said of Rinne. "We gave up too many chances
and just weren't firm enough on pucks. But, that'll come."
Roman Josi also lit the lamp for the Predators, who are seeded fifth in the
West and are eight points ahead of sixth-seeded Chicago.
The Preds are playing the first of two straight on the road tonight and are
16-12-2 as the guest this season. Nashville's next test isn't until Saturday,
when it visits the Florida Panthers.
Nashville has had tremendous success against the Hurricanes over the years,
winning six straight since Carolina last posted a win in this series on Jan.
13, 2006 in Raleigh. The Preds have claimed the last two encounters at RBC
Center and are 4-0-1 with a tie in their last six trips to North Carolina.
The Hurricanes have lost their last two games, but Carolina has turned in a
solid month overall, losing just once in regulation in 10 February games
(5-1-4). The 'Canes are playing the fourth tilt of a six-game homestand
tonight and are 16-12-5 as the host this year compared to a 7-14-8 mark on the
Carolina has lost its last two contests in the shootout, dropping Thursday's
test against Anaheim, 3-2, and losing by the same score Saturday against
Stephen Weiss scored the game-winning goal in the third round of the shootout
for the Panthers. Weiss picked up the puck and went in on goal with speed. He
made a quick move to his backhand and squeezed the puck through the pads of
Hurricanes' netminder Justin Peters.
Justin Faulk and Jussi Jokinen scored in regulation for the Hurricanes, while
Peters made 42 saves in defeat.
"Our guys are playing as hard as they can," Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller
said, "As a coach, you can't ask much more than that. They're playing their
Despite Carolina's recent effort, the club is still nine points out of a
playoff spot in the East.
02/28 10:51:47 ET