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Preds aim to build off win in home test vs. Leafs
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators got their two young guns on the board last time out. They'll look to make it two victories in a row on Thursday night when they continue a five-game homestand with a visit from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After opening the season with road losses to St. Louis and Colorado, Nashville kicked off its residency on Tuesday with a 3-2 victory over Minnesota. Eric Nystrom capped a three-goal first period with a successful penalty shot, while Filip Forsberg got the run started with his first NHL goal.
The 19-year-old Forsberg, who missed the club's first two games because of a lower-body injury, put home his chance on the power play before pumping his fists wildly in the air and jumping into the glass in celebration. He played in five games last season after being acquired from the Washington Capitals and had just one assist.
"I think for any player that gets to the National Hockey League, they dream of scoring their first goal and when they do it's a time to celebrate. I think you saw real good emotion from Filip. I know our bench was loving it," said Preds coach Barry Trotz.
Defenseman Seth Jones, the 19-year-old fourth overall pick of the most recent draft, picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Forsberg's goal.
Pekka Rinne was strong in net with 32 saves and has posted a .942 save percentage in two games since getting pulled early in the club's season- opening loss to the Blues.
Toronto came out of the gate winning its first three contests of the season before dropping a 2-1 home decision to Colorado on Tuesday. The Avalanche got the game-winner early in the third period.
Jonathan Bernier, who replaced James Reimer and stopped all 15 shots he saw in Toronto's shootout win over the Senators on Saturday, made 31 saves in the loss. He has a 1.18 goals against average and .963 save percentage in his three games with the Leafs, including two starts, after being acquired this past offseason from the Los Angeles Kings.
"We gave up too many chances," Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said. "Bernier kept us in it. It was right there for us."
Bernier could draw the start again tonight for the Maple Leafs and has been very successful versus the Predators in his career, going 7-1-0 with a 1.88 GAA and .932 save percentage in eight meetings.
Rinne is 2-1-0 with a 2.87 GAA and .907 saver percentage in four lifetime meetings with Toronto.
Joffrey Lupul, who scored Toronto's lone goal on Tuesday and has five points over his last three games, is day-to-day with a calf injury sustained versus Colorado. He did not practice on Wednesday, but did travel with the club to Nashville.
Jay McClement practiced on Wednesday for the Leafs after missing Tuesday's game after his wife went into labor.
The Maple Leafs had won two straight over the Predators before suffering a 4-1 road defeat in the last meeting on Nov. 17, 2011. It was their third loss in their past four trips to Nashville.
10/10 11:06:55 ET