The mainstream hockey public might not be fully aware of how impressive the Nashville Predators have been this season, but Thursday is a chance to see Pekka Rinne & Co. in action.
The Minnesota Wild hope to spoil that impression and improve their playoff odds in the process. You can see this game – which is especially significant for Minnesota – on NBCSN but also by streaming via NBC Sports Live Extra.
Philly will turn to Rob Zepp for the fourth straight game when it takes on the Leafs in Toronto this evening.
Zepp, 33, has fared reasonably well in his first-ever NHL campaign. He’s posted a 5-2-0 record, though his GAA (2.80) and save percentage (.893) leave something to be desired.
At the same time, the Flyers need wins right now — they head into tonight’s action four points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference — and Zepp has provided those; he’s won two of his last three starts, which included impressive victories against the NHL-leading Predators and Washington, who currently holds the east’s other wild card.
For Toronto, Jonathan Bernier will be in goal.
Canucks at Sabres: Eddie Lack vs. Michal Neuvirth (more here)
Coyotes at Rangers: Mike Smith vs. Cam Talbot
Habs at Jackets: Carey Price vs. Curtis McElhinney
Hawks at Panthers: (No word on a Chicago starter yet) vs. Roberto Luongo
Blues at Jets: Brian Elliott vs. Michael Hutchinson
Wild at Preds: (Devan Dubnyk likely) vs. Pekka Rinne
Sens at Kings: (No word on an Ottawa starter yet) vs. Jonathan Quick
Wings at Sharks: (No word on a Detroit starter yet vs. Antti Niemi
Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds scored in the shootout as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Nashville Predators 3-2 Saturday afternoon.
The win against the league-leaders comes after Philly dropped back-to-back games against teams below them in the standings. With the victory the Flyers move to within four points of the Boston Bruins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Simmonds also scored in regulation opening the scoring with his 23rd of the season. Ryan White gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead near the midway mark of the second.
Despite registering just three shots on goal in the first period, Colin Wilson’s 19th of the season had the Preds and Flyers tied 1-1 after 20. The Predators, who have now failed to pick up a win in back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 29 and 30, had just four shots on goal in the second period.
Craig Smith had the other Nashville goal while Pekka Rinne made 31 saves in the loss.
Rob Zepp improved to 4-1-0 on the season with a 20 save performance.
The game was the first for both Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli since their trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs last weekend.
Franson had two shots on goal and a hit in 17:52 of ice time while Santorelli was a minus-1 with a shot on goal and two hits in 12:11 of ice time.
A couple of Olympic gold-medal winners will be between the pipes tonight in Montreal, where the Canadiens’ Carey Price will be staring down the Bell Centre ice at the Panthers’ Roberto Luongo.
Both Canadian netminders are enjoying excellent seasons. Price is a serious Hart Trophy candidate, while Luongo has helped keep Florida in the playoff race with a .920 save percentage in 46 appearances.
With a win, the Panthers would move to within one point of the Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the East.
So let’s hear those “Go Habs Go” chants, Boston sports fans!
Jaroslav Halak will look to rebound from a shaky performance versus the Rangers when the Islanders host the Predators, who are likely to go with Pekka Rinne.
Cam Talbot for the Rangers versus Ryan Miller for the Canucks.
Curtis McElhinney for the Blue Jackets versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.
Ondrej Pavelec will see his first action in a week when the Jets visit Washington to take on Braden Holtby and the Capitals.
Michal Neuvirth for the Sabres versus Ray Emery for the Flyers.
Antti Niemi for the Sharks versus Kari Lehtonen (likely) for the Stars.
Video: Rinne shines with spectacular series of saves
How, exactly, did the San Jose Sharks not score here on Pekka Rinne?
The Nashville Predators goalie made a spectacular sequence of saves, including one off Joe Pavelski despite the sound of the whistle, early in the second period of Tuesday’s game. At that point, the Predators had a healthy three-goal lead.
The Predators went to defeat the Sharks 5-1. Rinne made 42 saves. That’s now six wins in a row for the Predators, who increased their lead in the Central Division to six points, and in the NHL’s overall standings.