Game # 4 Preview: Ovechkin And The Capitals Visit Music City

***UPDATE ***

Pekka Rinne is not playing tonight, this despite saying he was 100% yesterday. Center Matthew Lombardi is also out for tonight.

Anders Lindback will get his third start in goal and it will be his third start in four nights. That’s a lot of hockey for a rookie netminder who is playing his first year of North American hockey. But Lindback has shown he can handle the pressure of playing in the NHL and tonight will be no different.

Rinne was out on the ice during morning skate Saturday. So what rationale would Coach Barry Trotz have for keeping the franchise goalie out for a third straight game? Washington is in the Eastern Conference. If the Preds fall to the Capitals, they don’t gain two points but 2 points aren’t gained on them by a Western Conference opponent either. Safer to rest Rinne, making sure he really is 100% so he doesn’t re-aggravate his lower body injury.

The Tennessean is also reporting that as of 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon there were only 2000 tickets left for tonight’s game. Predators attendance has been pretty stellar so far this season (GM 1: sellout GM 2: 15 103) with thousands of seats left empty all over the NHL. Let’s make this game Nashville’s second sellout of the season in three tries. Go to this link to purchase discounted tickets (use the word Preds as the code for the discount).

Season Record

Predators (3-0-0)
Capitals (3-1-0)

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 03: Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators makes a save against Mike Knuble of the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on October 3, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Can the Predators duplicate the October 3rd shutout preseason victory over the Capitals?

By Amanda DiPaolo

The Predators put their undefeated record on the line tonight when they play host to the Washington Capitals. Tonight’s game is the third game in four nights for the Predators. Nashville last played on Thursday night when the Predators edged the Blues 4-3. Washington hasn’t played since Wednesday night when they edged the New York Islanders 2-1.

Washington’s starting goaltender, Semyon Varlamov hasn’t seen action since the preseason year but will dress on Saturday. Dany Sabourin was waived by Washington once Varlamov, who has been nursing a groin injury, was taken off injured reserve. So far, the Capitals have relied on Michal Neurvirth in net.

Because Nashville and Washington have played close games against each other in recent years, who gets the win might depend on whose special teams are better executed. The Washington Capitals penalty kill is working at a league best 100%. In three games, the Capitals have been shorthanded a total of 15 times. In stark contrast, Nashville has had to kill off 17 penalties, allowing 5 power play goals for a 66.7% kill-off rate. One week in, Nashville ranks 29th in penalty killing.

The power play is a different story. Nashville currently ranks 4th in the league on the man advantage, converting 30.8% of the time. On 13 power play opportunities, Nashville has scored 4 goals. Washington finds itself in the lower third of the league ranked 22nd overall. With 17 power play opportunities, the Capitals have only scored twice for an 11.8% power play.

For the last two years, the Capitals have needed extra time to beat the Predators. In 2008-2009, the Capitals beat Nashville 2-1 on an overtime goal from Sergei Fedorov. Last season, Washington beat Nashville 3-2 in a shootout. Overall, Nashville has played Washington 14 times, with a 5-5-2-2 record. It’s been a while since the Predators beat the Capitals, going back to the 2005-2006 season.

Injury Report:

The Tennessean reported on Friday that Pekka Rinne was feeling 100% so we’ll see if he gets the start in goal. The Tennessean also has put Matthew Lombardi as questionable for Saturday night’s game.

Martin Erat was placed on injured reserve and will not be in the lineup so Predators fans can expect Sergei Kostitsyn to play his second game. Erat has already missed two of the three games Nashville has played to start the 2010-11 season.

The Capitals will be without All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy nominated defenseman Mike Green. The Washington Post reports that Green is listed as day to day with an undisclosed upper body injury. Defenseman Tom Poti is also listed as day to day for Washington with a lower body injury. Other players questionable for Saturday night’s contest includes right wing Matt Bradley (lower body) and center Marcus Johansson (foot).

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Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. Predators upcoming home games include tonight against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, Tuesday when the Calgary Flames are in town and next Thursday when Canada’s national treasure, Sidney Crosby, makes his one visit to Smashville this year.

Topics: Alexander Ovechkin, Martin Erat, Matthew Lombardi, Nashville Predators, NHL, Pekka Rinne, Semyon Varlamov, Sergei Kostitsyn, Washington Capitals

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