Pekka Rinne helped the Predators extend their winning streak over the Hurricanes to four straight games two weekends ago. They'll have to try and earn a fifth in a row without their starting goaltender.
With Rinne sidelined, Nashville shoots for a third straight victory overall this evening against visiting Carolina at Bridgestone Arena.
Rinne has won both of his career starts versus the Hurricanes, making 21 saves and stopping two of three skaters in the shootout in a 2-1 road victory on Nov. 20. The win was Nashville's seventh in its last 10 over Carolina and the club hasn't lost at home to the 'Canes since Dec. 3, 2002, winning two meetings since.
However, Rinne suffered a left knee injury in Wednesday's 4-3 shootout victory over Columbus, though he finished the game, making 28 saves while stopping all three Blue Jackets skaters in the shootout. He is expected to miss two-to-four weeks with the injury and is 8-7-4 this year with a 2.38 goals-against average.
Steve Sullivan had the lone shootout tally and Kevin Klein scored a third- period game-tying goal for the Predators, who have won two in a row since an 0-2-2 slide.
"We're two of the same kind of teams," Rinne said. "Both play the same way, extremely hard. We just got a huge tying goal in the third."
Nashville set a club record by not giving up a goal while short-handed for an eighth straight game, but that mark figures to be tested with Rinne out. Anders Lindback is expected to get the bulk of the work with Rinne out and is 3-1-1 with a 2.78 GAA on the season.
The rookie has never before faced the Hurricanes, who haven't beaten the Predators since a 5-4 overtime home win on Jan. 13, 2006.
Carolina picked up just its third victory in 11 games (3-4-3) last night with a 2-1 triumph over Colorado. Jeff Skinner scored in regulation and Brandon Sutter had the game-winner 1:16 into overtime on a sharp wrister from the right circle. The victory was the Hurricanes' first at home since Nov. 17, snapping a three-game slide as the host.
"I think we played a pretty good game," Sutter said. "It was fast and intense, it kind of felt like a playoff atmosphere. We came out a little slow in the first five minutes, but got it going."
Cam Ward made 34 saves versus the Avalanche and is 0-3-1 with a 2.72 GAA in his career versus the Predators. He stopped 26-of-27 shots faced versus them back in November.
Backup Justin Peters has never faced Nashville.