Preview #31: Arnott Plays Against Preds As Nashville Visits New Jersey

By Amanda DiPaolo

Season Records

Nashville 16-8-6
New Jersey 9-19-2

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 12: Jordin Tootoo #22 (C) of the Nashville Predators celebrates his goal with teamates Shea Weber #6 and J.P. Dumont #71 as Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils looks on at the Prudential Center on February 12, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Preds celebrate after Jordin Tootoo scores last year in New Jersey. (Photo: Yardbarker.com)

The Nashville Predators will be looking to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games when they take their 8-7-1 road record to New Jersey to face the struggling Devils.

Nashville is 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. New Jersey is 4-6-0 but is coming off an impressive 3-0 win over Phoenix on Wednesday night. The Predators are also coming off an impressive victory from Wednesday, scoring twice in 44 seconds with less than three minutes in regulation to defeat the San Jose Sharks.

Don’t look now but the goal leader for the Devils isn’t a guy named Kovalchuk. New Jersey is being led by former Nashville captain Jason Arnott who has nine tallies on the season, one better than Patric Hornqvist and Steve Sullivan’s season high of 8 goals.

Steve Begin will make his debut in a Predators uniform Friday night. Begin was recalled by Nashville to play on the fourth line, a role that Hornqvist, an unlikely candidate for the fourth line, was filling. Hornqvist is out with an upper body injury.

Begin played for the Boston Bruins last year and signed with Nashville towards the end of October. In 21 games for the Milwaukee Admirals, Begin has four points, 3 goals and 1 assist.

Nashville continues to find ways to win and collect points even with so many injuries plaguing the team. Nashville has collected points in their last nine games going 7-0-2 in that time span. Starting goaltender Pekka Rinne has been out since the first week of the month. Two of Nashville’s starting centers are also out of action with David Legwand and Matthew Lombardi sidelined.

On Friday night, the Predators have a chance to tie the franchise record for consecutive games garnering a point, which stands at 10 games–an achievement attained three times.

New Jersey’s biggest injury is U.S. Olympian Zach Parise who has been out since the end of October and is expected to miss another two months of action.

Other injuries for the Devils include Bryce Salvador out indefinitely with a concussion. Anssi Salmela is on injured reserve after having surgery on his right knee. Mark Fraser is out having had surgery on his right hand. Jacob Josefson also had hand surgery at the end of October and is expected to miss another couple of weeks, and Matt Taormina is on injured reserve with an ankle injury. There is no timeline listed for his return.

Nashville’s hottest player on the ice has to be Sergei Kostitsyn. By scoring the game-tying goal at 16:44 of the final frame on Wednesday night, Kostitsyn extended his point streak to a career-high seven games. Kostitsyn has scored three goals and added six assists while averaging 15:04 minutes of ice time per game.

Friday night’s game is the first in a back-to-back series. Game time is 6pm CT and the game is being televised on Fox Sports South. Nashville travels home after the game and will take on the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. Tickets are still available for Saturday’s game.

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Tags: Colin Wilson David Legwand Ilya Kovalchuk Jason Arnott Jordin Tootoo Los Angeles Kings Nashville Predators New Jersey Devils NHL Patric Hornqvist Pekka Rinne Sergei Kostitsyn Steve Begin Steve Sullivan

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