(38-21-9) New York Islanders vs. Nashville Predators (35-22-13)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #NYIvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
After a five-game road trip, the Nashville Predators return home tonight to host the New York Islanders in their lone venture to Bridgestone Arena. Including this evening, the Predators have 12 games remaining in the regular season, eight of which will come at home.
Nashville is coming off a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night, highlighted by James Neal's sixth career hat trick. Neal has a point in nine of his last 10 games against the Islanders (6g-8a). The Islanders fell in a shootout on Monday to Pittsburgh by a 2-1 final but are 6-2-2 in their last 10 contests.
The hat trick by Neal was his second as a member of the Predators. The team has a 5-0-0 record this season when Neal records multiple goals and are 15-1-4 overall when he scores at least once. Neal has 20 points (11g-9a) in his last 27 games and seven points (5g-2a) in his last seven.
The Predators have recorded four hat tricks so far this season, with Filip Forsberg (2) and Shea Weber tallying the other three. The four hat tricks are one more than the previous three seasons combined (three) and are the most by the team in franchise history. The previous record stood at three hat tricks, which happened on three previous occasions, most recently during the 2007-08 season.
Weber remains one goal shy of surpassing Martin Erat for sole possession of second on the franchise’s all-time goals list. Erat had 163 goals with the Nashville Predators, while David Legwand (210 goals) is the franchise leader in goals. Weber has 17 goals so far this season, the eighth time in his career he's reached the 15-goal plateau.
Nashville has not allowed a power-play goal in their last five games, stopping all 17 opposition power plays in that span. This is the third time this season that the club has had a streak of at least five games where they killed off the opposing team's power play, with the season high being seven games (from Jan. 16-Feb. 2; 21-straight power plays killed).
Forsberg leads the club in goals and points with 28 and 52, respectively. Defenseman Roman Josi is second with 49 points, followed by Mike Ribeiro with 47. Weber and Neal each have 44 points; Neal's 26 goals are second on the club. Pekka Rinne is 28-19-10 on the campaign, while Carter Hutton owns a 7-2-3 record.
Forsberg is on a three-game point streak versus the Islanders (2g-2a) and Ribeiro has a point in three of his last four against the Isles (2g-3a).
Islanders Captain John Tavares and forward Kyle Okposo are tied for the team lead in points with 55 apiece. Tavares has 26 goals, which lead the club, followed by Brock Nelson with 22. Frans Nielsen has 19 goals and 46 points this season; Nick Leddy has 36 points from the backend. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak is out of the lineup with an injury for the Islanders, while Thomas Greiss is 19-7-4 on the season.
The Nashville Predators have a 4-4-1 record all-time when playing on St. Patrick's Day. The last time the team lost a home game in regulation on the date was March 17, 2003, versus Edmonton.
The Predators dropped a 4-3 decision to the Islanders on Oct. 15, 2015, in Brooklyn, with Forsberg, Neal and Austin Watson each tallying a goal for Nashville. All-time, the Predators are 11-7-2 against the Islanders, including a 7-3-0 mark at Bridgestone Arena.
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Players: James Neal, Colton Sissons and Ryan Ellis
What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
The Predators held an optional morning skate on Thursday. The below lineup is based on the players used in Monday's 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
| ||Forwards || |
|Calle Jarnkrok ||Ryan Johansen ||James Neal |
|Filip Forsberg ||Mike Ribeiro ||Craig Smith |
|Miikka Salomaki ||Mike Fisher ||Viktor Arvidsson |
|Colin Wilson ||Colton Sissons ||Austin Watson |
| ||Defense || |
|Roman Josi ||Shea Weber |
|Mattias Ekholm ||Ryan Ellis |
|Barret Jackman ||Anthony Bitetto |
Goaltenders: The Predators have not annouced a starting goaltender for tonight's game.
Extra: (D) Petter Granberg, (F) Paul Gaustad (upper-body), (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (F) Eric Nystrom (IR; lower-body)
New York Islanders:
| ||Forwards || |
|Josh Bailey ||John Tavares ||Kyle Okposo |
|Nikolay Kulemin ||Frans Nielsen ||Ryan Strome |
|Anders Lee ||Brock Nelson ||Steve Bernier |
|Matt Martin ||Casey Cizikas ||Cal Clutterbuck |
| ||Defense || |
|Nick Leddy ||Johnny Boychuk |
|Calvin de Haan ||Travis Hamonic |
|Thomas Hickey ||Brian Strait |
Goaltenders: Thomas Greiss is the projected starter in net with Jean-Francois Berube serving as the backup.
Extra: (D) Marek Zidlicky, (D) Adam Pelech, (G) Jaroslav Halak, (D) Ryan Pulock, (F) Shane Prince, (F) Eric Boulton