After collecting four out of a possible six points in California last week, the Nashville Predators return home for a single contest against the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena tonight. It's the third of four meetings between the Central Division foes this season; the Preds are 1-1-0 against Winnipeg thus far.
Nashville is coming off a 3-1 win over San Jose on Saturday, which snapped a four-game winless streak. Ryan Johansen, James Neal and Viktor Arvidsson tallied for the Preds and Juuse Saros stopped 25 shots for the win. Overall, the Predators still have points in nine of their last 11 and currently sit third in the Central Division with 77 points.
Johansen leads his team in assists (41) and points (52) while Filip Forsberg is the top goal-getter (27) on the club and is just one point of the scoring lead. Arvidsson has 24 goals and 48 points; defenseman Roman Josi has 11 goals and 40 points from the backend. Mike Fisher has 39 points on the season and James Neal has tallied 19 times. Goaltender Pekka Rinne has gone 25-16-8 between the pipes; Saros is 8-6-3.
Winnipeg (30-33-6) has lost three straight, including a 3-0 shutout at the hands of Calgary on Saturday night. Mark Scheifele leads the team with 68 points while rookie sensation Patrick Laine has 32 goals on the season. Scheifele has scored on 28 occasions, Nikolaj Ehlers has 22 markers and Blake Wheeler has 20 goals. Connor Hellebuyck is 22-18-3 in net; Michael Hutchinson is 4-11-3.
Video: Preds seek points in four straight as they host Jets
Update: The Preds are likely to have a similar lineup to the one they used on Saturday. See it here.
As the Preds look to start a new streak tonight, here are three things to watch for:
Depending on Saturday's result in San Jose, Nashville's California swing last week could have brought two very different outcomes. With a regulation loss, the trio would've yielded just two points and a losing streak of five games headed into the middle of March. But instead, a 3-1 win gave the Preds four of six points, a solid result against three formidable foes on the West Coast.
It certainly changes the narrative as the Preds continue to fight to lock up a postseason spot. A second consecutive win to build off a commendable effort in San Jose could go a long way in Nashville's effort to finish strong as the final four weeks of the regular season commence.
Video: Parenteau, Johansen and Bitetto talk WPG vs. NSH
Welcome Home, P.A.:
After making his Predators debut on Saturday in San Jose, P.A. Parenteau is looking forward to another "first" as he is slated to skate in front of the Nashville crowd as a member of the home team for the first time tonight. Parenteau saw time alongside Mike Fisher and Craig Smith during his first game after returning from an upper-body injury and said he felt more comfortable as the day went along.
If he can find the scoring touch he certainly possesses, Parenteau could play a huge role for the Preds down the stretch and into the postseason.
"I'm really excited," Parenteau said. "I saw the game against Chicago, saw the vibe in the building, and it's an amazing place to play hockey. I'm looking forward to my first [home] game."
Video: Laviolette talks about his lineup as Preds host Jets
They may skate third during line rushes, but the trio of Calle Jarnkrok between James Neal and Colin Wilson should hardly be considered a "third line" for Nashville. Neal was the latest member to contribute when he potted the winner against the Sharks, giving him points in three straight and his first goal since Feb. 18. Jarnkrok has four points in his last four outings and Wilson's play has been noticeable for all the right reasons as of late. The Predators will need to continue to receive contributions throughout the lineup, so look to see if this line can factor in on the score sheet with regularity.
When You Go:
Doors to Bridgestone Arena open at 5:30 p.m. CT for tonight's 7 p.m. start against the Jets. The Nashville Predators Foundation is hosting a Soles4Souls shoe drive this evening with fans encouraged to bring a pair of new or gently used shoes for donation upon entry to the game.
Take It In:
Fox Sports Tennessee and 102.5 The Game have coverage of tonight's game on television and radio, respectively, with pregame festivities beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT on FS-TN and 6 p.m. on the Preds Radio Network.