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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators Preview; Canes Lead Season Series 5-0

JL Matthews

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Raleigh, NC -- The Carolina Hurricanes (28-10-4, 60pts) and the Nashville Predators (24-20-1, 49pts) meet tonight for the second time in three days.

Carolina defeated Nashville 4-1 on Thursday night, with Andrei Svechnikov and Vincent Trocheck leading the way with two points each.

Both teams have plenty at stake.

Carolina remains locked in a tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning atop the Central Division standings. Both teams have 60 points, although Carolina has a game-in-hand versus Tampa.

With Carolina well-positioned to make the playoffs for the third-straight year, the team's focus is starting to shift to seeding and remaining healthy for post-season hockey.

"[Staying healthy] is the number one factor. All year it's been that. Whether you're battling injuries or COVID or whatever," Canes head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "You're always worried about that, because it could derail everything."

For Nashville, it's a matter of making the playoffs. With 49 points, the Predators currently hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. They lead fifth-place Chicago by four points. However, Chicago has a game-in-hand on Nashville.

However, Nashville is 0-4-1 against the Canes this season. With three of Nashville's 11 remaining games coming against Carolina, the Predators are desperate to figure out how to beat the Hurricanes.

"You've got to go back and look at the things that make you successful, look at the things that you can do better and then make sure that you take that and take it to the next game," current Predator, and former Hurricane, Erik Haula said. "There's going to be another game on Saturday, and we get another crack at them."

One player who has had plenty of success against Nashville is Andrei Svechnikov. The Russian has six points (2g, 4a) against Nashville in the five games played this year.

With two points on Thursday, Svechnikov has now registered 30 points (11g, 19a) this season. He's the fourth Hurricane to tally at least 30 points in each of his first three seasons, the most recent having been Sebastian Aho (2016-19).

Alex Nedeljkovic (9-4-2, .928 SV%, 1.98 GAA) will get the start for Carolina.

Lineup News

While Teuvo Teravainen is expected to miss tonight's game, there were some encouraging signs during Friday's practice.

Teravainen took line rushes with Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov, raising the possibility that he might be nearing a return from injury.

Teravainen has played only 13 games this season due to COVID protocols and a concussion sustained in February.

"It's positive that [Teravainen] is with the group. Is it a day-to-day thing? I don't think so. I think it's closer than it has been, that's for sure. Maybe ask me in a few days," Brind'Amour said.

Brock McGinn is expected to remain out of the lineup with an upper-body injury.

The Canes' expected lines:

Forwards

Andrei Svechnikov — Sebastian Aho — Jesper Fast

Nino Niederreiter — Vincent Trocheck — Martin Necas

Jordan Martinook — Jordan Staal — Warren Foegele

Cedric Paquette — Steven Lorentz — Morgan Geekie

Defense

Jaccob Slavin — Dougie Hamilton

Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce

Jake Bean — Jani Hakanpaa

Goalies

Alex Nedeljkovic

Petr Mrazek

Injuries: Teuvo Teravainen (concussion), Brock McGinn (upper body), James Reimer (healthy), Jake Gardiner (healthy)

Nashville's expected lines:

Forwards

Rocco Grimaldi — Ryan Johansen — Viktor Arvidsson

Calle Jarnkrok — Mikael Granlund — Luke Kunin

Rem Pitlick — Erik Haula — Nick Cousins

Yakov Trenin — Colton Sissons — Tanner Jeannot

Defense

Roman Josi — Matt Benning

Mattias Ekholm — Ryan Ellis

Jeremy Davies — Ben Harpur

Goalies

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Injuries: Filip Forsberg (upper body), Eeli Tolvanen (lower body), Dante Fabbro (upper body), Matt Duchene (lower body)

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JL Matthews is a writer with interests spanning history, humor, tv/film, parenting, and more. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he is a 6x Top Writer on Medium. Follow him on News Break, Medium, and Twitter for updates and latest work.

Raleigh, NC
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