After completing a back-to-back set away from home last weekend, the Nashville Predators return to Bridgestone Arena to begin a four-game home stand tonight, starting with the Calgary Flames. It's the second of three meetings between the two this season; Nashville hung on for a 4-3 victory in Alberta last month.
Nashville is coming off a 4-3 win in Columbus on Sunday, capped off by a game-winning goal from Mattias Ekholm in the third period and 35 saves in net by Juuse Saros. Ryan Ellis, Kevin Fiala and Calle Jarnkrok also tallied in the contest and P.K. Subban added two helpers to give him points in three straight.
Ryan Johansen's 40 points continue to pace the Preds, followed by Viktor Arvidsson with 39 and Filip Forsberg with 36. Arvidsson's 18 goals are tops on the team, while James Neal has scored 17 times and Forsberg on 16 occasions. Subban has seven points in his last five outings, Roman Josi has seven points in his last six games and Jarnkrok has 11 points in his previous 11 overall. Pekka Rinne is 22-15-6 on the season, Saros has gone 6-5-2.
Calgary (29-26-4) is in the midst of a four-game trip, most recently falling to Vancouver in overtime by a 2-1 final on Saturday. Mikael Backlund leads the team with 39 points, followed by Matthew Tkachuk with 37, then Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau with 35 points each. Monahan has 19 goals on the season and Backlund has 15. Chad Johnson is 17-13-1 in net for the Flames; Brian Elliott is 12-13-3.
Video: The Preds start the first of four at home vs. Calgary
Morning Update: Ryan Ellis, who made an early exit from Sunday's win over Columbus, participated fully in Tuesday's morning skate. For a look at Nashville's projected lineup, click here.
As the Preds look to collect points on their longest remaining home stand of the season, here are three things to watch for:
Home Sweet Home:
Combined with a weekend set on the road following a five-day break, it's been a little while since the Preds hit Bridgestone Arena ice, but they'll do so four times over the next six days, beginning tonight. Nashville is 16-7-6 in front of their fans this season, and at this juncture of the schedule, collecting points at home will be crucial in an attempt to solidify a playoff spot with 24 games to go in the regular season.
It's usually been good news for the Preds at home against Calgary as well; Nashville has points in nine of their last 10 home games against the Flames. The Predators also have at least a point in eight of their last 10 home games overall.
Video: James Neal previews the Preds hosting the Flames
Over the past couple of weeks, P.K. Subban has - somewhat quietly - continued to add points to his total of 25 this season. Subban is currently riding a three-game point streak and has seven points (1g-6a) and three multi-point performances in his last seven games. Since Feb. 9, the blueliner is tied for the NHL lead among defensemen in points with seven and assists with six.
Video: Laviolette talks about Jarnkrok's strong play
Nashville continues to be stellar in second periods this season. The Preds tallied twice in the middle frame on Sunday at Columbus and have outscored their opponents by a 69-45 mark in the second, first overall in the NHL. And once the second stanza is out, the Preds are 20-0-4 when holding a lead after 40 minutes.
When You Go:
Every Tuesday is a Guaranteed Win Night in Smashville, with each fan set to receive a scratch-and-win ticket upon entry into Bridgestone Arena. Tonight's grand prize winner will receive a $5,000 shopping spree to Dillard's of Green Hills. Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT.
Take It In:
Tonight's contest comes with a 7 p.m. CT puck drop, beginning with pregame coverage on Fox Sports Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. Radio coverage commences at 6 p.m. on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.