Saturday, September 25, 2010

Predators and Capitals Square Off in Nashville Tonight

The Nashville Predators will play their third preseason game in three nights against an Alexander Ovechkin-less Washington Capitals team at the Bridgestone Arena at 7 p.m.

The Preds are fielding their strongest lineup of the year with debut appearances by Shea Weber, Matthew Lombardi and Steve Sullivan. Patric Hornqvist, Colin Wilson, Sergei Kostitsyn and a renewed J P Dumont will also be on the ice. Local Favorite, Blake Geoffrion, will also play.

The most interesting battle to watch will be on the blue line where the battle for six through ten on the depth chart continues. Older players, Aaron Johnson, Bret Palin, and Alexander Sulzer are competing against youngsters, Ryan Ellis and Ryan Ryan Parent for a spot on the roster.

Other than Weber, none of the six D-Men playing tonight are a lock to start the season in Nashville. Parent probably has the best shot to stay. Ellis is the most likely to leave, eventually heading back to Juniors with specific instructions to focus on the defensive side of his game.

Johnson and Palin were both picked up in the off-season as defensive depth players. Palin has spent the last five years in the Calgary Flames organization playing in the AHL. Last season, he started the season as the captain in Abbotsford but was limited to 21 games due to injury.

Johnson has played 225 NHL games with Columbus, NY Islanders, Chicago, Calgary and Edmonton, picking up 14 goals and 32 assists at the NHL level.

In goal, Pekka Rinne will probably start and will be followed by Anders Lindback, who was impressive last night against Carolina, stopping all 15 shots.

Washington's squad will feature Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Knuble. Ovechkin and Alexander Semin did not make the trip.

Here are the complete rosters as announced by the Predators.

Nashville Predators
2 D Aaron Johnson
3 RW Wade Belak
5 C Blake Geoffrion
6 D Shea Weber
9 C Marcel Goc
13 C Nick Spaling
15 C Matthew Lombardi
23 D Brett Palin
24 RW Matt Halischuk
26 RW Steve Sullivan
27 RW Patric Hornqvist
33 C Colin Wilson
38 LW Kelsey Wilson
49 D Ryan Ellis
52 D Alexander Sulzer
71 RW J.P. Dumont
74 LW Sergei Kostitsyn
77 D Ryan Parent
35 G Pekka Rinne
39 G Anders Lindback

Washington Capitals
3 D Tom Poti
4 D John Erskine
15 F Boyd Gordon
16 F Eric Fehr
19 F Nicklas Backstrom
20 F Keith Aucoin
21 F Brooks Laich
22 F Mike Knuble
23 D Lawrence Nycholat
24 F Brian Willsie
26 F Matt Hendricks
36 F Francois Bouchard
42 F Steve Pinizzotto
44 D Brian Fahey
50 F Cody Eakin
52 D Mike Green
55 D Jeff Schultz
75 D Grant McNeill
83 F Jay Beagle
89 D Tyler Sloan
90 F Marcus Johansson
30 G Michal Neuvirth
35 G Dany Sabourin

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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