The injury plagued Nashville Predators put their five-game point streak on the line tonight at 7 p.m. against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators have already lost 17 man games to injury and that total will continue to mount with Ryan Suter out for at least three games, Marcel Goc out for 2-4 weeks, and Matthew Lombardi out indefinitely.
After missing three games, Pekka Rinne returned on Tuesday with a stellar performance in a 1-0 overtime loss to Calgary. Marty Erat also returned against the Flames for his first game of the season.
The Predators are currently carrying six defensemen and 13 forwards. If no recalls are made today, Alexander Sulzer will see his first game action of the season, filling in for Suter. It would appear that Wade Bekak will be the odd man out this evening.
The Preds will face the Sidney Crosby led Pens who struggled out of the gate but have now won three in a row and boast a 4-3-0 record. Marc-Andre Fleury, who is 0-3 on the season, is reported to be ready to start in net.
The Pens are led in scoring by Crosby who has four goals and four assists. The other leaders are more surprising, Mark Letestu (4g, 3a), Alex Goligoski (3g, 4a), and Paul Martin (1g, 6 a).
The Predators' special teams have struggled in the last two overtime losses with the power play going o-11 and the penalty kill falling to 28th in the league at 68.8% (5 goals on 16 kills). The Pens are ninth in the league at 20% (8 of 40) on the man advantage and are 18th at 81.5% on the PK (5 goals in 27 kills).
Tonight's game is the Hockey Fights Cancer game for the Predators. Click here for a complete rundown of all the related activities. Pittsburgh native, Sarah Marince, will sing the national anthem tonight.
Other previews of tonight's game come from Chris Burton and Amanda DiPaolo. The Pittsburgh side of the pregame story can be found at the Post-Gazette.
In Pred Nation...
Bryan Mullen had the initial report on Ryan Suter's injury and trip to the IR. The goal is for him to make it back for the Blues game on the 28th. He also writes about the Preds playing without Suter for a few games.
The Predators made several moves yesterday including sending Jamie Lundmark to Milwaukee, Ryan Suter to the IR, and signing Steve Begin and placing him ob waivers so he can go to Milwaukee.
Ryan Kennedy features Anders Lindback in his rookie report at The Hockey News.
Chris Burton has the weekly power rating round-up at On The Forecheck.
There is a group of female Preds fans under the name of Hockey-Tonk Angels planning a meet-up for tonight's game. Check it out here.
Hands of Cement throws out a few suggestions for a new Predators goal song. I agree that it is time for a change.
Amanda at Predlines looks at the Predators' need to fix the penalty kill.
Charles-Oliver Roussel was named to the QMJHL team for the annual Super Series next month in Canada. He also played in the tournament last season.
Bill Meltzer feels that Pekka Rinne is the NHL's most underrated goalie. Pred fans would agree.
The best story from while I was gone was Jim Diamond's post about Pekka Rinne's sweater going up on the space shuttle. That is really a big deal for Pekka, the NHL, and the country of Finland.
Around the NHL...
Ryan Porth has a great interview with agent Jay Grossman who was in town visiting Pekka Rinne over the weekend. This is part one with part two to follow later today. In this part, Jay discusses the Kovalchuk negotiations from over the summer. Later today, we'll hear about Alexander Radulov and the KHL.
Here is the video from Rick Rypien's incident with a Minnesota fan from Tuesday night. He has been suspended and will have a hearing in the next day or so. Michelle Kenneth looks at a few other episodes of NHL player-fan interaction. Puck Daddy has a transcript of an interview with the "brother" of the fan.
Chris Johnson at CP has the running list of NHL suspensions this season.
The Kings won their game with Carolina last night but lost Drew Doughty to an upper body injury and he will not play tonight at Phoenix.
The first player rankings from TSN are out. Who would have thought Tim Thomas would be leading in the year's first release. Steve Sullivan is the highest ranked Predator.
Going the other way, Puck Daddy has 10 players that haven't scored this year so far.
Chris Botta has this week's installment in his blogger series at Fanhouse with Jon Jordan telling all about the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Andy Strickland ponders Bill Guerin's expected retirement. It is surprising that no one could use him again this season.
Kingscast looks at the Evil Genius of Brian Burke at View from My Seats.
In a new series of featured articles from NHL XM Home Ice personalities, Terry Mercury discusses the Leaf's early success.
Mike Thompson has a review of the Nationwide Arena in Columbus. It appears that they now have a band that playes during the game also.
Allan Maki has a sad story of ex-NHLers who played in the last 25 years that are on the verge of being destitute.
Adrian Dater has the story of the Steve Moore lawsuit continuing to drag on for years.
Intent to Blow gives Steve Begin an early nomination for a "Douchie Award." Sean Avery and Chris Pronger are concerned that they will have to step up to compete again this season.
Odds and Ends...
When we were in California, we came across this 620 mile, seven day, bike ride from San Francisco to San Diego to raise funds for challenged athletes. The most interesting participant that we saw was a double amputee who had a modified vehicle where he was able to "pedal" with his hands.
Google appears to be struggling to do social media. This article discusses how Social networking may be foreign to a more engineer based company.
Kelly Slater may participate in the Big Wave World Tour event at Mavericks this winter.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass