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Preview: Predators at Islanders

New York two points out of second wild-card spot in Eastern Conference; Nashville trying to stay in third in Central

by Dan Rosen @DRosenNHL / NHL.com Senior Writer

PREDATORS (38-25-11) at ISLANDERS (35-27-12)

7 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 

Predators team scope

The Nashville Predators are third in the Central Division standings, one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues, who play at home against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. The Predators have won three in a row and six of their past seven games (6-1-0). They are coming off of a 7-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. This is the first game of a road back-to-back for the Predators, who also play at the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. The Bruins and New York Islanders are battling for Stanley Cup Playoff position in the Eastern Conference, so coach Peter Laviolette said matching the urgency of the Islanders will be key, especially considering they are in good position to make the playoffs while the Islanders are in a battle. "Urgency can easily be a determining factor in a hockey game," Laviolette said. "It's a good test for us. We're coming off a big win against San Jose. It would be like winning Game 1 in Round 1 and right away you're at a disadvantage in Game 2. Everybody thinks you have the momentum and that's a disadvantage. It's the urgency. Unless you have a group that recognizes it and can out-compete a team that is competing at the absolute highest and out-execute a team that wants to execute because it means so much, those are the things that will decide the game tonight and you know that theirs is going to be excellent. So now we know how they're going to play. So are we going to play better than them?"

 

Islanders team scope

The Islanders are two points behind the Bruins for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Even with a win the Islanders would be behind the Bruins based on having fewer regulation/overtime wins (ROW), 37-33. However, they can drop with a loss because the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are one point behind the Islanders, play at home against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. "We're in the position we're in, so every game is huge, every point is huge," coach Doug Weight said. "We have to address today as a playoff game so we have to play with pace and play hungry." Goaltender Thomas Greiss will start after making 16 saves in a 2-1 loss to the Bruins on Saturday.

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Colin Wilson -- Colton Sissons -- Craig Smith

Kevin Fiala -- Calle Jarnkrok -- James Neal

Cody McLeod -- Vernon Fiddler -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, PA Parenteau, Brad Hunt, Harry Zolnierczyk

Injured: Mike Fisher (lower body), Miikka Salomaki (lower body)

 

Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Andrew Ladd -- Anthony Beauvillier -- Joshua Ho-Sang

Alan Quine -- Brock Nelson -- Jason Chimera

Stephen Gionta -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Adam Pelech

Calvin de Haan -- Travis Hamonic

Thomas Hickey -- Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Greiss

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Scott Mayfield, Shane Prince, Jean-Francois Berube

Injured: Johnny Boychuk (lower body), Ryan Strome (upper body), Nikolay Kulemin (upper body)

 

Status report

Fisher will miss his third straight game. He is not on the road trip with the Predators so he will not play Tuesday either. Laviolette would not announce a starting goalie. Rinne is 4-3-1 with a .906 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average in eight games against the Islanders. Saros, a rookie, never has played the Islanders. … Quine is replacing Prince in the lineup and Hickey is in for Mayfield. Quine and Hickey were scratched against the Bruins. Kulemin will miss his second straight game and likely won't play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. "It's not going to be longer than two to three weeks," Weight said. "Best case scenario would be the end of the week and I don't know that that's going to happen." Weight said that Boychuk is close to returning and could play Thursday. He will miss his 12th straight game Monday.

 

Who's hot

Neal has five goals in his past seven games, including two Saturday. Sissons also scored two goals against the Sharks and has three in the past two games. Wilson has five assists in his past two games. Smith has six assists in his past three games. Arvidsson has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past seven games. Ellis has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games. … Tavares has seven points (three goals, four assists) during a six-game point scoring streak. Lee has three goals in his past five games.

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