(14-14-6) Philadelphia Flyers vs. Nashville Predators (22-9-2)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game
The Nashville Predators return from the Christmas break tonight to host the Philadelphia Flyers on Shea Weber Bobble Head Night at Bridgestone Arena. It'll be the first of three games in the next four days for the Preds, with contests at Chicago and versus St. Louis on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
After winning three-straight outings the Predators fell to the Bruins in Boston last Tuesday night by a 5-3 final. It was just the ninth regulation loss for the Preds on the campaign.
Saturday is just the third time that the Predators will skate on home ice in December. Nashville is 12-2-1 at Bridgestone Arena this season, a record that contains 12 one-goal decisions, including one that needed overtime and four shootout victories.
Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne continues to lead the NHL in wins with 22, and his .934 save percentage and 1.84 goals-against average are both tied for third in the League. His three shutouts are also tied for third among NHL netminders. Rinne is one of just three NHL goalies to have played in seven or more overtime games this season and not allowed a goal. In games that make it to a shootout, the Finn has a save percentage of .895 (19-for-21), second among NHL goaltenders facing at least 10 attempts.
Rookie forward Filip Forsberg has 32 points (13g-19a) in 33 games played, a points, goals and assists total that leads both the Preds and all NHL rookies. League-wide, Forsberg's point total in in the Top 20 and his +24 rating is tops in the NHL.
Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette spent parts of five seasons as the head coach of the Flyers from 2009-13, leading them to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final and back-to-back Eastern Conference Semifinal appearances in 2011 and 2012. Predators Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy served as an assistant to Laviolette in Philadelphia, in addition to being the Flyers Director of Professional Scouting from 1990-92. McCarthy also played parts of two seasons for the Flyers from 1977-79.
The Flyers possess the League's leading point-getting in Jakub Voracek, who has tallied 46 points this season. Voracek also leads the NHL in assists with 32. Flyers Captain Claude Giroux isn't far behind his teammate, tallying 41 points thus far, good for a tie for third in the League. Wayne Simmonds leads the club in goals with 15.
Nashville is 7-7-(2)-2 all-time against the Flyers and are 3-2-(2)-1 in Music City. James Neal has 11 points in 17 career games against Philadelphia, while teammate Derek Roy has recorded 19 points in 29 games versus the Flyers.
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Morning Skate:Predators Update:
The Preds held their first on-ice session since Tuesday's loss at Boston after the Christmas break. Pekka Rinne is expected to get the start in goal tonight against the Flyers.Nashville Morning Skate Lines:
Forsberg - Wilson - Smith
Cullen - Fisher - Neal
Bourque - Jarnkrok - Jokinen
Nystrom - Gaustad - Beck
Roy - Stalberg (Extras)
Josi - Weber
Ekholm - Ellis
Bartley - Jones
*Probable StarterPhiladelphia Projected Lines:
Raffl - Giroux - Vorachek
B. Schenn - Laughton - Simmonds
Read - Couturier - Umberger
Vandevelde - Bellemare - LecavalierDefensemen:
Grossman - Streit
Schultz - Coburn
MacDonald - L. SchennGoaltenders: