The Nashville Predators have spend most of the season without No. 1 goaltender Pekka Rinne, and though he won't be back Thursday night in Philadelphia, they feel they've finally traded for someone to adequately fill in during his indefinite absence as he recovers from hip surgery.
Devan Dubnyk, who matches the 6-foot-5 Rinne in size, will take over No. 1 duties after being acquired Wednesday from Edmonton in exchange for center Matt Hendricks.
"Dubnyk gives us a chance to be a little bit better, going with the guy that's clearly had a lot more experience, clearly been a number one, has won a lot of big games in his career," Nashville general manager David Poile said. "It's a chance if you will, it's an opportunity if you will, to try to improve our hockey club at this time."
No announcement has been made on whether Dubnyk will start against the Flyers (24-19-4) as the Predators (20-21-7) try to win in Philadelphia for the first time since 2006 and end a five-game road losing streak.
They snapped a three-game overall skid with Tuesday's 4-2 home win over Calgary to close out a 2-2-1 homestand. Shea Weber, Ryan Ellis, Craig Smith and Viktor Stalberg scored while David Legwand had three assists as the team matched its goal total from the three previous games.
Weber has 17 points in 17 games and leads NHL defensemen with 11 goals.
Nashville went 2 for 4 on the power play after scoring once on its previous 13 chances, and Smith credited that with paying it a little extra attention in practice.
"I think it's always good when you score in practice," Smith told the team's official website. "You've got to bear down there and you're going to bear down in the game. I thought we did a good job of making plays in practice and taking it serious, and that resulted in some goals tonight."
With Dubnyk entering the mix, either Carter Hutton or Marek Mazanec will be the odd man out. Poile said a decision will be made Friday on who the Predators will retain as their backup.
Hutton made 22 saves against the Flames to win for the first time in seven games. His .902 save percentage is identical to Mazanec's while Dubnyk brings an 11-17-2 record, .894 save percentage and 3.36 goals-against average to Nashville. Dubnyk is 0-2-0 with a 3.57 GAA in two career starts in Philadelphia.
The Flyers will also be going for consecutive wins after Tuesday's 4-3 victory at Buffalo. Vincent Lecavalier scored his first goal since Nov. 27 with 15 seconds left to secure the win. He'd gone 13 games without a goal and missed another nine in that stretch because of a back injury.
"It felt good. They've been hard to come by since I got back from my injury,' Lecavalier said. 'Sometimes a goal like that will kind of, I don't want to say jumpstart, but get more confidence and keep going.'
Scott Hartnell had a goal and two assists and has 13 points in his last 12 games. He suffered a lower-body injury and is considered day-to-day.
Steve Mason improved to 19-11-4, but he has allowed eight goals on 36 shots in his last two games.
Philadelphia beat the Predators 3-2 in a shootout Nov. 30 in Nashville.
The Predators have scored four goals during a three-game skid in Philadelphia.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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