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Game 38 Preview: Nashville Predators @ Pittsburgh Penguins; 12/28/2019: lines, how to watch

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Just like last night, except a new location as it will be a hockey night in Pittsburgh for the first time in a long time!

NHL: MAR 29 Predators at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who: Nashville Predators (18-13-6, 42 points, 6th place Central Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (22-11-4, 48 points, 3rd place Metropolitan Division)

When: 7:00 p.m. eastern

How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in Pittsburgh viewing area, Fox Sports Tennessee in, you guessed it, Tennessee, EPSN+

Opponent Track: Nashville was 4-0-1 in the last five games before meeting Pittsburgh, but got thumped pretty good 5-2 last night. Starting goalie Pekka Rinne only last 14:50 before being pulled, and traditionally plays VERY poorly in Pittsburgh, so one wonders which goalie they will turn to tonight. It might make sense to go back to backup Juuse Saros (who stopped 17/19 in relief last night).

Pens path ahead: The Pens stay at home in the immediate future next week against non-playoff teams in Ottawa (Monday) and San Jose (Thursday) before heading out to Montreal for next Saturday January 4th.

Season Series: This is it for the season series, a very quick turnaround but the only time PIT/NSH sees each other in a six month season is this weekend.

Recent History: The Pens have very done well in this one, going 11-3-1 in the last 15 games dating back to October 2010 against Nashville, including the big win last night.

SBN Team Counterpart: Check out On the Forecheck for the honkey tonk hockey perspective.

Tale of the Tape

(note: doesn’t include last night’s game)

—The Preds’ PK isn’t ranked all that great, but looked pretty good last night. Ryan Johansen got a short handed breakaway and the Pens were lucky he hit a post.

Player Stats at a Glance

via hockeydb:

(also not including last night’s game)

—The Pens broke Josi’s five game scoring streak, though he did get a primary assist with his shot tipped by Viktor Arvidsson.

—Interesting note by the ATT&T Sports broadcast (so blame them if this falls through) but the talented Forsberg has 0 career regular season goals in 11 games against the Pens. (He did score 1 goal in the 6 SCF games in 2017 though). The Pens and the Ottawa Senators (and, well Nashville) are the only NHL teams that Forsberg has yet to score a goal against.

Possible Lines (based on Friday)

Forwards

Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson

Filip Forsberg - Matt Duchene - Mikael Granlund

Rocco Grimaldi - Kyle Turris - Craig Smith

Colton Sissons - Nick Bonino - Austin Watson

Defense

Roman Josi / Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm / Dante Fabbro

Dan Hamhuis / Matt Irwin

Expected scratches: Yannick Weber, Colin Blackwell, Jared Tinordi

Injured: well...

—Hamhuis had a scary moment when a Galchenyuk shot puck cracked him in the chin/jaw/cheek type area, drawing instant blood. Hamhuis left the game. I wouldn’t really expect him to play, that looked very scary. One of Weber or Tinordi would be in the lineup accordingly.

—Sissons also left the game and didn’t return due to an unknown ailment. We’ll see if he can answer the bell tonight, if not Blackwell figures to get back on the ice.

And now for the Pens..

Potential Lines (based on Friday game)

Forwards:

Jake Guentzel - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Alex Galchenyuk Dominik Kahun- Jared McCann

Zach Aston-Reese- Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev

Dominik Simon - Joseph Blandisi - Sam Lafferty

Defense:

Jack Johnson/ Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson / John Marino

Juuso Riikola / Chad Ruhwedel

Expected scratches: Justin Schultz (lower body injury), Thomas Di Pauli (healthy), Kevin Czuczman (healthy)

Injured Reserve: Sidney Crosby (core muscle surgery), Nick Bjugstad (core muscle surgery), Patric Hornqvist (lower body injury), Brian Dumoulin (ankle surgery)

—Nice to see Hornqvist back on the ice with the team, after no real updates or timeline on the Swedish winger it looks like he could be on the path for a return soon, after being out since November 30th.

—The Pens flipped their lines around last night, and it did work out. Simon and Galchenyuk tallied rare goals. Blueger and Rust scored as well to give one forward line a goal.