(20-11-3) Montreal Canadiens vs. Nashville Predators (16-11-6)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #MTLvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
The Nashville Predators play their final game before the Christmas holiday break commences on Dec. 23, hosting the Montreal Canadiens tonight at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville is seeking their fifth win in the month of December - and their second in a row - after defeating the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night, 3-2.
Montreal is coming off of a 6-2 defeat to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night and are without their No. 1 netminder, Carey Price, who is injured. The Canadiens are still tops in the Atlantic Division with 20 victories and 43 points on the season.
With two assists on Saturday against Minnesota, Preds Captain Shea Weber posted his fifth multi-point game of the season. He now has 12 points in the month of December (3g-9a), tied for the League-lead during the month with St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko (7g-5a) and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau (7g-5a).
Weber is also just five games away from tying Martin Erat for second on the franchise’s all-time games played list. Weber has skated in 718 career NHL games, all as a member of the Nashville Predators. He was Nashville's fourth choice, 49th overall (second round) in the 2003 NHL Draft. Weber ranks third all-time in franchise history in goals (155), third in assists (259), and third in points (414).
Defenseman Roman Josi leads Nashville with 24 points (8g-16a), while Weber leads the d-corps with nine goals. Preds defensemen are first in goals in the NHL with 24. No other team (besides Nashville) has defensemen with more than 19 goals (Carolina).
Weber's 22 points are second on the club behind Josi, followed by James Neal and Filip Forsberg, who each have 21 points. Neal's 13 goals are first among Preds skaters. Mike Ribeiro has 14 assists and 18 points on the season, while Forsberg and Craig Smith both have seven goals each. Pekka Rinne, who has two shutouts in his last five games against Montreal, is 13-9-6 on the season with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.
Ribeiro, who played for Montreal to begin his NHL career, has eight points (1g-7a) in his last five games against the Habs. Forsberg has a point in three-straight games versus Montreal (1g-2a); Neal has points in three of his last four games against the Canadiens (3g-2a).
Tomas Plekanec leads Montreal in points with 27 on the season, including 20 assists. Max Pacioretty, who paces the team in goals with 14, is second with 26 points. Defenseman P.K. Subban has one goal and 22 helpers from the blue line while Dale Weise and Brendan Gallagher have 10 and nine goals, respectively. Goaltender Mike Condon, who has earned the starting job in the absence of Price, is 9-7-3 with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
The Predators have points in seven-straight games against the Canadiens (4-0-3) and have yet to lose a game against them in regulation at Bridgestone Arena since March 10, 2003 (their only home regulation loss against them). During last season's season series, both contests went to overtime. Nashville won on home ice (3-2), while Montreal won at the Bell Centre (2-1). All-time, Nashville is 7-5-6 against Montreal, including a 4-1-4 mark at Bridgestone Arena.
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Players: Seth Jones, Eric Nystrom and Viktor Arvidsson
What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Forward Mike Fisher (IR; lower-body) skated with the Predators during their morning skate on Monday. Fisher, who has been out of the Preds lineup since Dec. 1, took line rushes with the d-pairings and is not expected to play this evening.
| ||Forwards || |
|Filip Forsberg ||Mike Ribeiro ||Craig Smith |
|Colin Wilson ||Calle Jarnkrok ||James Neal |
|Viktor Arvidsson ||Colton Sissons ||Cody Hodgson |
|Eric Nystrom ||Paul Gaustad ||Miikka Salomaki |
| ||Defense || |
|Roman Josi ||Shea Weber |
|Barret Jackman ||Seth Jones |
|Mattias Ekholm ||Ryan Ellis |
Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the expected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.
Extra: (D) Anthony Bitetto, (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (F) Mike Fisher (IR; lower-body), (F) Austin Watson
| ||Forwards || |
|Max Pacioretty ||David Desharnais ||Dale Weise |
|Daniel Carr ||Alex Galchenyuk ||Lars Eller |
|Tomas Fleischmann ||Tomas Plekanec ||Paul Byron |
|Brian Flynn ||Torrey Mitchell ||Michael McCarron |
| ||Defense || |
|Nathan Beaulieu ||PK Subban |
|Alexei Emelin ||Jeff Petry |
|Andrei Markov ||Tom Gilbert |
Goaltenders: Dustin Tokarski is the expected starter in net with Mike Condon serving as the backup.
Extra: (G) Carey Price, (F) Brendan Gallagher, (F) Devante Smith-Pelly, (F) Sven Andrighetto, (D) Jarred Tinordi, (D) Greg Pateryn