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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, December 5th (All times Eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (11-12-5) at Nashville Predators (13-12-3), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators will try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season when they host the Carolina Hurricanes in Thursday's battle at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators are in the midst of a three-game slide and all three setbacks have come during a four-game homestand that is set to end on Thursday.

Nashville's current 0-2-1 slump is the longest since a season-worst 0-4-0 stretch from Nov. 8-15.

The Preds' latest loss came on Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks, who received a pair of third-period goals from Ryan Kesler to take a 3-1 decision in the Music City.

The setback dropped the Predators to 6-5-2 on home ice this season

Colin Wilson scored the lone goal for the Predators in the second period, while rookie netminder Marek Mazanec allowed more than two goals in a game for the first time since Nov. 15. He turned aside 30-of-33 shots on Tuesday.

Kesler scored the eventual game-winner to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead at the 7:37 mark of the third period. Jason Garrison's slap shot from the left point was stopped by Mazanec, but Kesler put home the rebound.

"On that second goal, we lost two battles; our centers lost two battles down low," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "In the corner and in front, we lost two battles and it wound up in our net."

Nashville's last two setbacks have come without defensemen Shea Weber and Kevin Klein in the lineup. Weber, who leads Nashville with seven goals, is questionable for tonight's game after getting hit with a puck near the right eye in last Thursday's loss to Edmonton. Klein is also questionable due to a lower-body injury.

The Hurricanes ended a two-game slide their last time out, posting a 4-1 road win over Washington on Tuesday. It was just the third victory in the last nine games for Carolina.

Jeff Skinner had two goals and an assist to lead the way in the win over the Capitals. Andrej Sekera and Jiri Tlusty added one goal apiece for the Hurricanes, while Justin Peters stopped 26-of-27 shots for the win.

"We have a lot of road games coming up here, a big stretch," Peters said. "We have confidence and we want to build that confidence coming on the road knowing that we can play a good road game and get some points."

Carolina is completing a two-game swing tonight before hosting San Jose on Friday. After tomorrow's home tilt against the Sharks, the Hurricanes will set out on a four-game road trip.

The Hurricanes had lost six straight in the series with Nashville before recording a 4-3 home win on Feb. 28 of last season. However, the Preds have taken four straight and seven of the eight all-time encounters on home ice.

Cam Ward expects to get the start in net for Carolina on Thursday and is 1-4-1 with a 2.98 goals against average in six career games against Nashville.

Neither Mazanec nor fellow Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton have ever faced the Predators.

12/05 10:42:15 ET

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TOR 94
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