It's Gold Friday in Smashville, and the Nashville Predators are set to conclude their three-game home stand this evening against the Winnipeg Jets with a special 5 p.m. (CT) start time. Tonight's meeting is the first of a home-and-home set between the Central Division rivals, with the Preds looking to stretch their home point streak to eight games in what could be their sixth-straight home victory.
Nashville is coming off a 5-2 win over Dallas on Wednesday night, a game that saw Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and James Neal each record a goal and an assist. Pekka Rinne made 33 saves in the game, improving his record in the month of November to 7-1-2.
Forsberg leads his club with 15 points, including 13 assists, followed by Neal and P.K. Subban with 14 points each. Neal's nine goals are tops on the team, while Craig Smith and Viktor Arvidsson have potted six goals apiece. Rinne is 8-5-3 overall with a .934 save percentage.
The Preds also made some roster moves on Thanksgiving, recalling goaltender Juuse Saros and defenseman Anthony Bitetto from Milwaukee. Nashville also assigned forward Cody Bass and goaltender Marek Mazanec to the Admirals.
The Jets (9-11-2) have lost four straight on their current road trip, being outscored 15-5 during that span. Mark Scheifele has scored 11 goals and leads the Jets with 23 points, and rookie sensation Patrik Laine has found the back of the net 12 times in 22 games. Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers have 18 points each on the season. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is 7-7-0 on the season, Michael Hutchinson has a 2-4-2 record.
Morning Update: Recently recalled Juuse Saros and Anthony Bitetto joined the team for Friday's morning skate. Miikka Salomaki (Injured Reserve) also participated in the session, but Ryan Ellis, who took a maintenance day, did not.
See the Preds projected lineup here.
As the Thanksgiving week home stand comes to a close, here are three things to watch for between the Preds and Jets:
Video: The Preds look for wins in six straight games at home
The Predators have traditionally been one of the League's better home teams in recent memory, and they're continuing that trend through the first 20 games of the 2016-17 campaign. Nashville possesses a 7-1-1 record at Bridgestone Arena, second in the NHL with a .833 win percentage in their own building. The Preds have points in six straight at home and have won their last five. Success at home is why the Preds have been able to climb back into playoff positioning, and they'd like nothing more than to finish off a perfect home stand today.
Video: Laviolette talks about a home-and-home with the Jets
Joey and the Jets:
Ryan Johansen doesn't mind playing Winnipeg. The Preds centerman has recorded eight points (3g-5a) and three multi-point games in his last four contests against the Jets and is on a four-game point streak against them. Johansen has tallied 13 points in 10 career games versus Winnipeg, and after adding two points in Wednesday's win over Dallas, look to see if No. 92 can get a point streak of his own together by finding more success this evening.
Toronto's Auston Matthews was the most highly touted prospect in the 2016 NHL Draft, going first overall to Toronto, but the Jets got themselves quite a player as well. Patrik Laine, the second selection last summer in Buffalo, has already found the back of the net on 12 occasions this season to lead the team, only two goals off of the League lead. Take notice of Laine's shooting and skating ability, he's likely to be a star in the NHL for years to come.
When You Go:
Don't forget that tonight's game comes with a special 5 p.m. start time at Bridgestone Arena. Doors open at 3:30, but be sure to stop at the Predators Team Store beforehand to take advantage of a slew of Gold Friday deals on Preds merchandise. Click here for full details on Gold Friday sales.
Take It In:
Today's game starts with Predators Live! pregame at 4:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Tennessee with Willy Daunic, Stu Grimson and Lyndsay Rowley. On the radio side, Pete Weber and Brent Peterson have the call on 102.5 The Game.