TAMPA Vancouver Canucks Hats Authentic , Fla. — An early season battle of league titans takes place on Thursday when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Nashville Predators.Tampa Bay and Nashville each enter the season with Stanley Cup aspirations. Both sit atop their divisions through the first month of action.The Lightning ended October with a record of 8-2-1 and hold a plus-11 goal differential while sitting on top of the Atlantic. The Predators start November with a 9-3 record, plus-13 goal differential and a perfect 5-0 record on the road while leading the Central.Article continues below ...Nashville received a boost on Wednesday when reigning Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Pekka Rinne was activated off injured reserve and joined the team for the trip to Tampa. Rinne has missed five games since colliding with teammate Kevin Fiala during a game on Oct. 15. The Predators did not practice before leaving town, so there was no indication whether Rinne would start the game against the Lightning.Backup Juuse Saros has been handling the load in Rinne’s absence, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.62 goal against average and .917 save percentage while starting all five games, including Tuesday’s 4-1 victory against Vegas.“He’s carrying this team,” Rinne recently told The Tennessean. “He’s playing great hockey. He’s been doing an amazing job. First of all, we have a good tandem and a good relationship. It starts from there.“At the same time, I feel really good when there’s bumps and bruises, you can take your time to heal.”The Lightning, meanwhile, have picked up points in eight of the past nine games and come off an 8-3 trouncing of the New Jersey Devils as five different players recorded at least three points Custom Vancouver Canucks Jerseys , led by Brayden Point who had a goal and four assists.“Pointer just controls the game with his speed. He’s all over the ice,” defenseman Braydon Coburn said. “He’s got the puck. He supports the puck. He’s on top of guys. He’s so tight defensively, and I think it frustrates offensive guys. When he gets the puck, he’s gone. He’s gone. He takes advantage offensively. He uses his speed to make space and chances for himself and his teammates.”Tampa Bay continues to be without the services of Norris Trophy defenseman Victor Hedman, who will miss his third consecutive game with an undisclosed upper-body injury suffered on Oct. 26. But in his absence, the Lightning defense have chipped in on the offense. In Tuesday’s victory against New Jersey, Ryan McDonagh and Coburn combined for three goals and six points, with Coburn adding his second career multi-goal game and first since Oct. 31, 2009.“We see his skill in practice and in the games all the time, so I don’t think we are too surprised to see him put the puck in the net,” Point said of Coburn. DALLAS –The Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars were once rivals in the Central Division www.officialcapitals.com , but that changed in 2013 when Detroit shifted to the Eastern Conference.On October 28, the Red Wings (15-18-6) defeated the Stars 4-2 at Little Caesars Arena. The rematch comes Saturday at American Airlines Center and Detroit, which has allowed 131 goals this season (tied for second-most in the NHL) looks to flip that script.“Yeah, well you can’t give up the number of goals we’ve given up and be happy with it,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said after a 5-2 loss at Pittsburgh on Thursday. “You got to make sure that you’re not giving up anything easy. You’ve got to make sure they’re earning everything.”Article continues below ...Detroit is 2-6-2 over its past 10 games and is 7-9-3 on the road.But one bright spot from Thursday’s road loss was forward Dylan Larkin scoring his 16th goal of the season and extending his career-best point streak to 12 games.“We got to find a way to just grind it out for 60 minutes, play our game and come away with two points. We need two points desperately here,” Larkin said Thursday.On Thursday, Dallas (19-16-3) notched a 2-0 shutout at Nashville as backup goaltender Anton Khudobin stopped all 49 shots he faced.However, the big story surrounding the Stars on Friday was the comments from franchise president and CEO Jim Lites to two local media members which were critical of captain and perennial All-Star Jamie Benn.The Stars practiced early Friday afternoon and coach Jim Montgomery and the players spoke to the media before Lites’ comments surfaced.And Dallas, which is 11-5-1 at home, is beginning a crucial stretch where it plays 10 of its next 13 on home ice.“I want us to become more consistent and create an identity of we’re going to be a puck-pressure team that is tenacious when we don’t have the puck and when we do have it Washington Capitals T-Shirts Authentic , we’re going to manage it well,” Montgomery said after practice Friday of this stretch of home games.Montgomery said Ben Bishop will start in goal Saturday against Detroit.Dallas also made several roster moves Friday, recalling forward Roope Hintz from Texas of the American Hockey League and activating defenseman Connor Carrick (foot) off injured reserve. The Stars also assigned defenseman Gavin Bayreuther to Texas and placed forward Martin Hanzal (back) on injured reserve.Montgomery said the decision has yet to be made on whether Carrick or Julius Honka will skate on Dallas’ third defensive pair Saturday.But even with Dallas facing a Detroit team that has lost three straight and seven of eight, the Stars’ rookie coach isn’t about to take the Red Wings lightly.“A real fast team, a young team that works hard, that comes at you hard on the forecheck and in the neutral zone, and a team that if we can possess pucks down low maybe we can have some success against,” Montgomery said of Detroit.