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Game Day: Devils vs. Preds

by Nashville Predators / Nashville Predators

(21-25-9) New Jersey Devils vs. Nashville Predators (37-12-6)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Nissan Pregame 6:30 P.M.
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The Nashville Predators are set to host the New Jersey Devils on Valentine's Day in what is the Preds third contest of their current four-game home stand. It's the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season and the only one in the Music City.

This is the seventh time the Predators have taken the ice on Valentine's Day in franchise history, owning a 5-1-0 record all-time on the holiday.

The Preds are coming off of their fourth-straight win after emerging with a 3-1 victory over Winnipeg on Thursday night. Captain Shea Weber had a three-point evening (1g-2a) and rookie sensation Filip Forsberg set a new franchise record for most goals by a rookie in a single season with 19.

Weber's offensive night was his 11th career, three-point contest and his second of the season. Weber, who is second among Preds defensemen and fourth among all Preds skaters in points (13g-26a-39pts) has 13 points (5g-8a) in his last 16 games. The Sicamous, B.C., native leads the team and is fourth in the League in average time on ice (26:32).

In addition to his record-setting goal on Thursday, Forsberg also added an assist against the Jets, marking his 13th multi-point game of the season. Forsberg continues to lead the team in points with 50, a total good enough to place him in the Top 20 in the League in points. Among rookies, Forsberg maintains the top spot in goals (19), assists (31), points (50) and power-play goals (5), just to name a few.

Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne, who stopped 32 of 33 Winnipeg shots on Thursday night, leads the League in goals-against average (1.99) and is second in save percentage (.930). His 32 wins this season, tops in the NHL, put him 11 shy of tying his career-high 43 wins set in 2011-12. In his last 15 games, the goaltender has a record of 13-1-1.

James Neal scored in their third period for the Preds on Thursday, his 19th goal of the season, tying him for the team lead and putting him one shy of recording his seventh-straight 20-goal season. Neal's 10 third-period goals are tied for seventh in the League, including teammate Colin Wilson.

The Devils enter into tonight's contest having lost to Chicago last night by a 3-1 final. New Jersey sits 12th in the East and have lost three-straight contests. The Devils are led on offense by the NHL's fifth all-time leading scorer, 42-year-old Jaromir Jagr. With 11 goals and 29 points, Jagr is one point ahead of Adam Henrique for the team lead.

Goaltender Cory Schneider sees the bulk of the work in net for the Devils, posting a 19-21-5 record to go along with a 2.29 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage (Schneider played last night in Chicago; recording 32 saves in the loss).

New Jersey is 10-17-2 away from home this season, while Nashville is 23-3-1 in their own barn. The Preds are 7-2-1 in their last 10 outings.

Tonight's contest marks just the second time the Devils have visited Nashville since Oct. 15, 2011, and the 11th time overall. Dating back to Feb. 29, 2000, the Preds and Devils have played 16 times, with 13 of those games decided by one goal. Additionally, five of nine games since the start of the 2005-06 campaign have needed a shootout or overtime to determine the winner. Nashville is 8-8-(0)-3 against New Jersey all-time and 3-5-(0)-2 on home ice.

Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Mike Fisher, Roman Josi and Eric Nystrom


What to Watch for: Stu and Willy's Breakdown


Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette



Morning Skate Update:

Defenseman Ryan Ellis joined the Predators for today's morning skate for the first time since being injured (lower-body) in a Jan. 8 game versus Dallas. Mattias Ekholm also joined the team for the session and is expected to return to the lineup tonight for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on Feb. 8 against Florida.

Blueliner Anton Volchenkov was the only Predator missing at the morning skate and is out for tonight's game.

Nashville Morning Skate Lines:

Forwards:


Wilson - Ribeiro - Neal

Cullen - Fisher - Smith

Forsberg - Jarnkrok - Beck

Nystrom - Gaustad - Bourque

Extras: Jokinen, Stalberg

Defensemen:

Josi - Weber

Bitetto - Jones

Ekholm - Bartley

Goaltenders:

Pekka Rinne*

Carter Hutton

*Probable Starter


The Devils did not hold a formal morning skate after playing last night in Chicago.

New Jersey Projected Lines:

Forwards:

Henrique - Gomez - Bernier

Elias - Zajac - Tootoo

Ruutu - Cammalleri - Jagr

Zubrus - Josefson - Havlat

Defensemen:

Greene - Larsson

Merrill - Zidlicky

Gelinas - Harrold

Goaltenders:

Cory Schneider*

Keith Kinkaid

*Projected Starter
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