It's been a rough season for the Nashville Predators. The once perennial playoff contenders have fallen to second-last in the Western conference, just ahead of the lowly Colorado Avalanche, and are a ghastly 1-7-2 in their past ten games.
The Flames, on the other hand, are riding their first three-game winning streak of the season, and to add insult to injury for the Preds, the Flames are sitting most of their veteran forwards tonight in an effort to give their recent call-ups a final look as the season winds down.
Lee Stempniak, Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan, Tim Jackman and Mike Cammalleri will all be scratched for tonight's game in favour of the likes of Carter Bancks, Paul Byron, Akim Aliu and Ben Street. Roman Cervenka, Jiri Hudler and Brian McGrattan are the only Flames forwards who have been regular NHLers this year (before Blair Jones' demotion, of course).
Dennis Wideman returns to the lineup tonight as Cory Sarich remains unavailable after injuries sustained in his fight in Calgary's win over Minnesota. To cap it all off, Anton Babchuk will take his place in a move that basically gift wraps the two points for the Predators in this game.
Projected lines and pairings: