Predators-Islanders Preview

The Associated Press

The Nashville Predators are surging behind strong play from goaltender Pekka Rinne.

A meeting with the New York Islanders seems unlikely to slow them down.

Rinne figures to be in net Monday afternoon as Nashville tries to match its longest winning streak of the season by continuing its dominance of the Islanders.

The Predators (25-15-4) have won 13 of 17, a run that started with a five-game winning streak.

They're on the cusp of equaling that mark after beating Philadelphia 4-2 on Saturday, winning for the seventh time in eight tries.

Rinne, who will likely be making a 12th start in a row, is one of the main reasons behind Nashville's success, ranking among the NHL leaders with 23 wins and 1,105 saves. He's recorded 13 of those victories over his last 16 starts.

Rinne has also started every game of the winning streak, compiling a 1.76 goals-against average and .946 save percentage.

After facing the Islanders (16-20-6), the Predators will visit the New York Rangers on Tuesday to complete a back-to-back set in the Big Apple. That could be cause for coach Barry Trotz to rest Rinne, but backup Anders Lindback has lost his last three games with a 3.27 GAA and hasn't started since making 19 saves in a 4-1 loss at Washington on Dec. 20.

Lindback, however, stopped 28 shots in a 5-0 win over the Islanders on Dec. 13, 2010, one of his two career shutouts.

The Predators have had little trouble with New York, going 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings. They lost 4-3 in a shootout in their most recent visit to Long Island on Feb. 9, 2010, which came with Rinne in net.

Mike Fisher could help make a difference offensively in this matchup, as the center enters with a four-game points streak. In his first full season with Nashville, Fisher has one goal and six assists in his past four contests after getting one of each against the Flyers.

Fisher has three goals and four assists in his last seven games at Nassau Coliseum, all with Ottawa.

Patric Hornqvist, tied with David Legwand with a team-high 12 goals, will try to avoid going a third straight game without a tally after getting three in the previous two contests. The right wing scored twice against the Islanders last season.

New York is tied with Tampa Bay for the fewest points in the Eastern Conference at 38, but has won two of three following Saturday's 4-2 victory over Buffalo. The Islanders outshot the Sabres 40-25 as Matt Moulson continued his scoring surge.

The left wing leads the Islanders with 21 goals, and he's scored five while setting up six others over the last seven games. However, he doesn't have a point in two meetings with Nashville.

Evgeni Nabokov should be in net for a 12th consecutive start after making 23 saves Saturday, when he became the 26th goaltender to win 300 games.

He's 7-1-0 with a 2.36 GAA and one shutout in his last seven starts against the Predators, all with San Jose.

"I want to keep playing because I'm not ready to look back," said the 36-year-old Nabokov, who is 7-11-0 with a 2.64 GAA in 20 games this season. "I am having fun doing my job.

"I'm enjoying the guys here and I want to keep working toward the playoffs. We still have 40 games left."

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