MORNING SKATE NOTES
Predators (8-8-2, 18 pts) @ Penguins (11-7-0, 22 pts)
The Nashville Predators are in town and it’s a typical Predators team. Competitive but can’t score goals. The Predators are 25th in the NHL, averaging 2.11 goals per game. Typically an excellent defensive team, the Preds are 25th in the NHL in giving up 3.06 goals per game but the team has been shorthanded without all world goaltender Pekka Rinne who is injured. Nashville has serious goaltending problems without Rinne as they are trying to tread water. Have to think the Penguins score an even strength goal tonight. The Predators have a minus-19 goal differential, good for 27th in the league.
Nashville like the Penguins have lost three straight. The Preds are 2-3-1 on a seven game road trip.
— Against a struggling offensive team, it would seem that tonight would be a golden chance to start backup Jeff Zatkoff and play Fleury tomorrow night against a divisional opponent, but Bylsma will go with Fleury who makes his 16th start of the season.
— Paul Martin returns to the lineup after missing the last two games. Martin will be paired with Brooks Orpik.
— Kris Letang is ill and did not participate in the morning skate. The Penguins are hopeful he will play tonight.
The Penguins ran the same four lines this morning as Wednesday’s game and it appears there will be no changes on the third line of Beau Bennett – Brandon Sutter – Matt D’Agostini.