The Nashville Predators (11-8-5) are presented with a new challenge in an already frustrating season tonight as they face the Carolina Hurricanes (11-11-3) without goalie Pekka Rinne.
Rinne's left knee injury, that resulted in it being scoped, is the latest in a series of absences that has seen the team lose 68 man-games so far this season David Legwand and Matthew Lombardi are also out for tonight's game. As usual, the team will close ranks and move forward with those that are healthy.
The team realized when the season started that with injuries that at least thirty players would have the opportunity to wear Predator colors and contribute to the cause. So far, 27 players have dressed for the Preds in their first 24 games.
For the second time this year, Anders Lindback (3-1-1, 2.78, .913) will move front and center and have Mark Dekanich serve as his back-up. Whe Rinne was out earlier this season, Lindback performed well, going 3-0-1.
The Hurricanes come to Nashville after an overtime 2-1 win over the Avalanche in Raleigh last night where Cam Ward stopped 34 of 35 shots and was named the games first star. Per Canes Country, Ward (11-8-2, 2.61, .922) is expected to go again tonight against the Preds.
The Preds are riding a two game win streak and extended their franchise record eight game penalty kill streak in their win in Columbus on Wednesday. The Preds are now eight in the NHL on the PK with an 84.6% kill rate.
The Preds and Canes met two weeks ago in Raleigh when the Preds won 2-1 in a shootout in what many felt was a boring game. There is a good possibility of another shootout tonight as the Preds have gone to the skills contest six times in the last eleven games.
Tickets are still available including mine in 301, row B which are listed at the Predators Ticket Exchange.
I will not be in attendance at tonight's game but POTG will be in the capable hands of Ryan Porth from RLD Hockey who will have tonight's wrap up.
For other previews, check out Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton, Jeremy Gover, Paul McCann, and The Tennessean.
For previews from the East, see Canes Country and the News and Observer.
In Pred Nation...
Bryan Mullen has the latest this morning on Pekka's injury and Barry Trotz's confidence in Anders Lindback.
Mark Dekanich was recalled to the Predators due to Pekka Rinne's new left knee injury and Chet Pickard will return to Milwaukee. Jim Diamond had the early news about Pekka. Rinne is expected to miss between two and four weeks. Brian Mullen adds a quote from Lindback and Deckanich.
Jim Diamond talks to Sergei Kostitsyn and Barry Trotz bout Sergei's increased ice time lately.
Section 303 has a new edition of the 303:30 out this morning with Canes blogger Brian LeBlanc.
Dirk Hoag is ready to wave the pom-poms with the new paid attendance figures released to the Nashville Sports Authority. He also has today links with an audio interview with David Poile from yesterday.
Robby at Hockey Night in Nashville speculates that Shea Weber is being hampered by the C on his chest.
Ryan Ellis was named the OHL Defenseman of the month for November.
With the recall of Mark Dekanich, it appears that the Hockey Tonk Angels may have material for a new T-shirt design.
Jas Faulkner discusses concussions and their effect on her and Marc Savard at The Hockey Writers.
With Mark Dekanich gone, the Milwaukee Admirals turned to Jeremy Smith and came away with a 5-2 loss to Grand Rapids.
We had it wrong yesterday, Ryan Suter actually appeared on Puck Daddy Radio on Friday, not Thursday.
The latest on the Space Shuttle with Pekka's jersey from RT @InsideKSC: The first February, 2011 launch window for STS-133 is 2/3-2/10 from Kennedy Space Center's LC-39A..
Around the NHL...
Ryan Porth looks at some early picks for the big individual trophies in the NHL.
Chris Johnson is now reporting that the number of concussions this year is the same as last in spite of the new head shot rules.
Tim Rosenthal has the first installment of his Rosie Awards. These are done on an January to December basis so it is a different twist.
The Active Stick has an interesting primer for sisters who want to learn hockey, especially if they are in Montreal.
It appears that Sean Avery has the say so on the New York club scene so don't make him mad if you want to go to an exclusive club.
Odds and Ends...
I'm not sure how a dead beaver carcass could be confused with a human body but leave it to the wizards in Bellevue to have trouble telling the difference. This is so far out of hand that you can become a fan of the beaver on Facebook.
In a true local travesty, Belmont University "accepted the resignation" of women's soccer coach Lisa Howe. The Nashville Scene reports that she was given a choice to quit of be fired for having a child with here same sex partner. It is amazing how a "student-centered Christian community" as they claim to be on their website would take this stance. Jesus approves of Lisa Howe's actions much more than the people responsible for perverting Scripture to fire this young lady.
I did not realize that there are glacier caves. Here are some pictures and a story about one explorer.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass