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PRE-GAME REPORT: Devils at Predators

P.K. Subban makes his return to the Music City as the Devils look to start their four-game road trip on the right foot

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils complete their eighth of 16 sets of back-to-back games this season tonight when they face the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. 

You can watch the game on MSG+ or listen on the Devils Hockey Network. 

Video: DEVILS:60 | Devils at Predators

Read the game preview below and check back later today for lineup updates, videos and more. 

INSIDE THE DEVILS

Devils news and notes from the past few days. 

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE DEVILS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

NASHVILLE, TN - The Devils look to build upon their record of 3-2-1 in the second game of back-to-backs tonight with the same lineup as Friday: 

Hall - Hughes - Palmieri
Coleman - Zajac - Gusev
Boqvist - Zacha - Bratt
Wood - Rooney - Simmonds

Greene - Subban
Severson - Vatanen
Butcher - Mueller

The one change is in goal where Louis Domingue shifts from the back-up to the starter. 

Nico Hischier remains on the shelf due to illness which is something the Devils will have to overcome, says interim head coach Alain Nasreddine. 

"You're already missing Nico and that's a that's a huge loss. I mean, number one center plays in all situations," he began. "You'd like to think last night he might've been a difference maker. and then with Sammy (Vatanen) get injured in the third period."

Nasreddine said there was relief when Vatanen was proclaimed good to go tonight.

"Like I said, (he plays) 10 minutes in the first period, so to know that he's back, it's good as a top four D if not a top pairing D and he plays in all situations."

P.K. RETURNS

P.K. Subban makes his return to Nashville for the first time since last June's trade and admitted he was excited to get on the ice against his former team. 

"It was always a fun building to play in even when I played in Montreal, it was great coming to play Nashville," he noted. "They got great fans, but obviously the three years that I had here were three great years. And I know from a team perspective, anytime you make it to a Stanley Cup Final or get that close to winning a Stanley Cup you have a pretty close bond with your teammates."

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

PREVIEW

DEVILS (9-14-5) at PREDATORS (12-10-5)

TV: 8:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+

Head-to-Head:

Tonight's game is the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. 

Last season, Nashville won both games, one in a shootout and one in overtime. Kyle Palmieri led the team with three points (all assists). 

Devils team scope:

The Devils are winless in their last four games but picked up a point on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Taylor Hall remains the team's leading scorer with 23 points in 28 games. Hall scored his fifth of the season on Friday against Chicago. 

Travis Zajac and NIco Hischier have been the best Devils in the faceoff circle this season. Zajac is at 52.72% while Hischier is 51.55%. In Hischier's first season he was at 42.93% in the circle and last season he had improved to 45.24%.

Predators team scope:

The Predators aren't having a season up to their standards at this point, only two games over .500. They're eight points behind the pace they set through 27 games in each of the last two seasons. 

With only three wins in their last 12 games (3-6-3), including a four-game losing streak and five-game winless skid in the month of November, they've been trying to find their game. 

Most recently, the Predators lost 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday to Tampa Bay for their second straight setback. They've had three days rest heading into a game against a Devils squad that's on a back-to-back. 

Defenseman Roman Josi leads the Predators in points with 24 through 27 games. Goaltender Pekka Rinne has struggled with a 2.84 goals-against average and .899 save percentage. 

By the Numbers:

Tonight marks the conclusion of the eighth back-to-back set that the Devils have played this season. This means that 16 of the team's 29 games (55.2%) have been either the first or second game in a back-to-back set. Additionally, more than a quarter of the team's games (27.5%) have come with no days rest. 

The Devils are 1-4-3 in the first game of back-to-back and 3-2-1 in the second game. 

With five goals and 18 assists through 28 games, Hall isn't all that far behind his MVP season of 2017-18. He had nine goals and 20 assists through 28 games that year. 

Injury Updates:

Devils - Sami Vatanen (undisclosed) is questionable; Matt Tennyson (upper body) is on IR; Nico Hischier (illness) is questionable

Predators - Victor Arvidsson (lower body) is on IR; Mikael Granlund (lower body) is day-to-day

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

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