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Game Day Notebook: Preds at Pittsburgh

Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 5:36 PM CT / Features
By Doug Brumley  - Nashville Predators
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Game Day Notebook: Preds at Pittsburgh

For the Predators, the return of Alexander Radulov is going swimmingly so far. The 25-year-old is stepping back into the Predators lineup tonight for the first time in almost four years, opting to play at his first opportunity despite a hectic few days that saw him fly from Russia and face a media swarm.

"I really left it up to him," Predators head coach Barry Trotz said about the decision to insert Radulov into the lineup in Pittsburgh. "It wasn't going to be my call. He's had a tremendous amount of things to do in the last four days. He's eight time zones away from where he was. How he's functioning, I have no idea."

Radulov has been all smiles, joking around with teammates and staff on the road trip. Even as early as Tuesday, Trotz has been buoyed by the positive effect that Radulov has had on team captain Shea Weber, alternate captain Ryan Suter and others.

"To me, that’s the most exciting thing," Trotz said Tuesday, "that he’s brought excitement to that core group, which is very good and that just hopefully makes us better."

Meanwhile, for Thursday night's game, Steve Sullivan, who was once a teammate of Radulov's in Nashville, praised the Russian scorer in a video interview shown on the video board inside Consol Energy Center. Sullivan reported that Radulov is a very skilled offensive player who is a particularly dangerous one-on-one threat.

Between the media publicity and Sullivan's knowledge of Radulov, there's no chance of the young Russian surprising the Penguins.


Pittsburgh ties: There's more to this road trip to Pittsburgh than the marquee matchup on the ice. The Nashville Predators have seen a lot of familiar faces in Consol Energy Center Thursday, as the two teams have quite a few ties. The Penguins' sixth-leading scorer is forward Steve Sullivan, who spent five-and-a-third seasons in a Predators uniform. Predators defenseman Hal Gill, meanwhile, won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009. Penguins general manager Ray Shero came to Pittsburgh from Nashville, where he was the Predators' assistant GM from 1998 to 2006. And next door to the Consol Energy Center is what's left of Civic Arena (currently being demolished), which according to Predators TV play-by-play man and hockey historian Pete Weber was the site of the first NHL goal for his broadcast partner, Terry Crisp, on Oct. 17, 1967.


Russian connection: Alexander Radulov was the subject of much media hubbub again today, given his return to game action with the Predators, but he was able to break away from the sizable media scrum to chat one-on-one with friend and fellow countryman Evgeni Malkin. According to Radulov, the two are close.

"He's a good friend of mine because we are the same age and we were playing against each other as kids," Radulov said. "So I've known him a long long time. We've got a good relationship. While he was playing here and I was playing there we just call each other sometimes. In the summer I saw him a lot.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33