After five-game absence, Neal back for Preds tonight


The Nashville Predators activated James Neal off injured reserve Tuesday, in advance of their game against the Canucks at Bridgestone.

Neal, who missed the last five games with an upper-body ailment, looks as though he’ll return on a line with Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson, as opposed to a top-line role with Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro (Craig Smith, who sits third on the team with 12 goals, will play there instead.)

Regardless of where he plays, Neal is a welcome addition to the lineup — just ask his head coach, Peter Laviolette.

“It’s good to get him back on the ice,” Laviolette said, per The Tennessean. “He’s a heavy player that can provide a lot of offense, and when he is out of the lineup, you really miss a guy like that.”

Neal will look to rediscover the form he had prior to getting hurt; he had five points in his last six games, which included a two-goal outing against Chicago on Dec. 29.