(0-0-0) Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators (0-0-0)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #CARvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Subway Student Rush Night
Opening Night has finally arrived.
The Nashville Predators begin the 2015-16 season tonight by hosting the Carolina Hurricanes at Bridgestone Arena, the first contest of the new campaign for either club. The Preds own a 3-1-1 record in their last five openers and an overall record of 8-7-1 all-time in their first outing of the season.
"The guys are excited to get going," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "We had a good training camp, the guys worked really hard and I think we’re ready to play."
After a successful, 104-point season in 2014-15 and a second place finish in the Central Division, the Preds are looking to improve on what they started one year ago. Laviolette, who coached his first season with the Preds last year, led the team to a 16-point improvement in the standings over the prior season, and the club went from a minus-26 goal differential in 2013-14 to a plus-24 in 2014-15.
Familiar faces return to the Predators lineup, including forward Filip Forsberg, who led the team in goals (26) and in overall points with 63 (26g-37a) last season. He was the only rookie in the NHL to finish the regular season as the top scorer on his respective team. Forwards Mike Ribeiro, Mike Fisher, Craig Smith and Colin Wilson all inked new deals over the summer and the defensive core, led by Captain Shea Weber and Roman Josi returns largely intact. Newcomers Cody Hodgson and Barret Jackman are set to make their Preds debuts tonight after signing as free agents over the summer.
Hurricanes Captain Eric Staal returns for his 12th season in Carolina after leading the club in goals (23) and points (54) last season. Defenseman Justin Faulk appeared in all 82 games for the Canes in 2014-15, recording 15 goals and 49 points, while Elias Lindholm was second on the team in goals with 17.
Forward Kris Versteeg and defenseman James Wisniewski are new in Carolina after being acquired via trade during the offseason from Chicago and Anaheim, respectively. Goaltender Eddie Lack, formerly with Vancouver, signed a two-year extension with the Hurricanes last week.
The Preds have posted wins in seven of their last 12 games against the Canes, and have points in nine of 14 dating back to Dec. 3, 2003 (7-4-(0)-2 record). Overall, the Preds are 12-7-(1)-1 in 21 all-time matchups against the Canes and 8-2-(0)-0 on home ice.
Doors for tonight's contest open at 3 p.m. at the Nissan SoBro Entrance only, where fans can join 102.5 The Game, broadcasting live in the Barrel House prior to the game. The Nashville Predators GOLDWALK presented by Nissan begins at 4 p.m. on the Bridgestone Arena Plaza at the corner of 5th Avenue and Broadway. A Plaza Party presented by Lee Company begins at 4:45 p.m., followed by the opening of the remaining Arena entrances at 5:15 p.m. in advance of the 7 p.m. face off.
All fans in attendance will receive a Gold jersey rally towel, courtesy of Nissan.
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Players: Pekka Rinne, Eric Nystrom and Mattias Ekholm
What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Morning Skate Lines:
| ||Forwards || |
|Filip Forsberg ||Mike Ribeiro ||James Neal |
|Colin Wilson ||Mike Fisher ||Craig Smith |
|Viktor Arvidsson ||Cody Hodgson ||Calle Jarnkrok |
|Eric Nystrom ||Paul Gaustad ||Gabriel Bourque |
| ||Defense || |
|Roman Josi ||Shea Weber |
|Barret Jackman ||Seth Jones |
|Mattias Ekholm ||Ryan Ellis |
Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the projected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.
Extra: (D) Victor Bartley, (D) Anthony Bitetto and (F) Austin Watson
| ||Forwards || |
|Kris Versteeg ||Eric Staal ||Elias Lindholm |
|Nathan Gerbe ||Jordan Staal ||Riley Nash |
|Jeff Skinner ||Victor Rask ||Chris Terry |
|Joakim Nordstrom ||Jay McClement ||Andrej Nestrasil |
| ||Defense || |
|Ron Hainsey ||Justin Faulk |
|John-Michael Liles ||James Wisniewski |
|Noah Hanifin ||Ryan Murphy |
Goaltenders: Cam Ward is the projected starter in net with Eddie Lack serving as the backup.
Extra: (D) Michal Jordan, (F) Brad Malone
- Carolina's lineup via CarolinaHurricanes.com