Originally posted on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 1/6/12

Season Records

Carolina Hurricanes 13-21-7

Nashville Predators 21-15-4

Josi didn't play his best game Thursday. Will he be a healthy scratch on Saturday?

 

The Nashville Predators host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. Entering Friday night’s action, the Hurricanes had the worst record in the Eastern Conference, and sit in the 15th spot just one point behind the New York Islanders, the team they lost to 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday.

The Predators look to get back on track after a 4-1 loss to Dallas on Thursday night.  Nashville looks to improve its 11-7-3 home record against a team that has struggled on the road this season. Carolina has a 4-11-4 road record.

The Hurricanes are coached by Kirk Muller. On June 27th, 2011, Muller was hired by Nashville to coach the Milwaukee Admirals, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Predators. Not even two full months into the regular season, the Hurricanes hired Muller to be their head coach on November 28th, after firing Paul Maurice. Muller is 5-8-3 since taking over as head coach.

Saturday’s game is the first of two meetings this season between Nashville and Carolina. The Predators are on a five-game winning streak against the Hurricanes and have points in their last seven meetings. Since December 3rd, 2003, the Predators have a 6-0-1 record against Carolina. The two teams have met up 14 times and the Predators enjoy an overwhelmingly successful record at 10-3-(1)-1 against Carolina.

Captain Shea Weber returned to the lineup on Thursday night, playing over 25 minutes and posting a team-high four shots on goal as well as five hits. Weber has six points, including 3 goals and 3 assists in six games against Carolina.

While the Predators were lucky to  have Weber return to the lineup after missing only four games, Carolina star Jeff Skinner remains out of the lineup with a concussion he sustained in early December.

Pekka Rinne has a 2-0-0 record with a 1.44 goals against average and a .939 save percentage against Carolina. However, with the latest roster moves as well as Saturday night’s opponent coming from the Eastern Conference, it is entirely possible that Rinne may be given the night off and Jeremy Smith may play his first NHL game.

On Friday, Anders Lindback was sent down to Milwaukee and Smith was recalled to Nashville. Sending Lindback to Milwaukee allows the rookie netminder the opportunity to see some playing time.

This season in Milwaukee, Smith has a 16-6-2 record. The Predators also reassigned Jon Blum to Milwaukee. Ryan Ellis, who was recalled after Shea Weber suffered his concussion on December 23rd, will remain with the team, for now. On Thursday night, the Predators set a franchise-record seventh consecutive sellout at Bridgestone Arena. This season 12 of the Predators 21 home games have been sellouts. It took the Predators until March 17th a season ago to reach 12 sellouts. Nashville is on pace to break the franchise record of 20 sellouts established during the inaugural season. Photo credit: AP
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