(34-16-5) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators (35-12-6)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: None | Radio: 102.5 The Game Tickets
The Nashville Predators are set to begin a four-game home stand on Tuesday night by hosting the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning, at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville is coming off back-to-back games over the weekend in which they defeated the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon by a 3-2 final, and then bested Florida in a shootout on Sunday, also a 3-2 score.
Filip Forsberg scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season with 4:43 remaining in Sunday's game against the Panthers to even the score at two and push the game into overtime. He then tallied the game-winner in the shootout for the Preds. All-time, Forsberg is 2-for-6 in the shootout, with both of his goals being decisive markers against Florida.
With his third period goal, the rookie has tallied at least a point in every February game (1g-5a-6pts, 5gp) including a career-best, four-game assist streak from Feb. 1-7. Forsberg has nine points in his last nine games.
Pekka Rinne started the first game of the Preds back-to-back outings last weekend, stopping 30 pucks against the Rangers to record his League-leading 30th win this season (39 games played). This is the fourth time in Rinne's career that he has reached the 30-win plateau, and the first time since 2011-12, when he won a career-high 43 games.
In recording 30 wins in 39 games, Rinne became the fastest (in terms of games played) goaltender to record 30 wins since the NHL adopted the shootout in 2005-06. He is just the third goaltender in the NHL's expansion era to tally 30 wins in 39 games or less. Rinne's 2.02 goals-against average is first and his .929 save percentage is second among all League goaltenders. The Finn is 11-1-1 in his last 13 games.
Mike Ribeiro tallied his team-leading 34th assist of the season on Sunday against Florida, putting him in a tie for sixth in the category among all League skaters. Ribeiro's 34 assists are two from tying David Legwand and Cliff Ronning for third-most assists in a season by a Preds center. In his last 31 games, the Montreal native has 28 points (6g-22a), including recording the 700th point of his NHL career
with a goal on Saturday against the Rangers.
The top team in the East with 73 points, Tampa Bay is lead by their Captain, Steven Stamkos, and young forward, Tyler Johnson. Johnson leads the club with 52 points, while Stamkos' 28 goals leads the Lighting in the category and tied for fourth in the NHL. Forward Nikita Kucherov has also become a 20-goal scorer, potting 20 goals and 47 points this season.
Ben Bishop, who has never faced the Preds in his career, is the No. 1 netminder for the Bolts, carrying a 27-9-3 record to go along with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.
The Lightning are 7-2-1 in their last 10 outings and are 12-11-4 away from Tampa Bay. Nashville has gone 5-3-2 in their last 10 but are 21-3-1 at home this season.
Tonight's meeting is the first of two on the season and the only one in Nashville. The Predators are 5-4-(0)-1 all-time against Tampa Bay in the Music City and have out scored the Lightning 16-9 in the last three contests on Broadway.
Nashville's 35-12-6 record is the team's best 53-game record in franchise history, while their 23 wins in one-goal games (23-6-4) is tied for first in the League in the category.
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Players: Mike Ribeiro, Victor Bartley and Anthony Bitetto
What to Watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Morning Skate Update:
The Preds skated this morning at Bridgestone Arena prior to this evening's contest against Tampa Bay, with newly recalled defenseman Anthony Bitetto and forward Viktor Stalberg
among the participants. Bitetto is expected to play in his second career NHL contest tonight alongside Victor Bartley on the third defensive pairing. Stalberg skated with Olli Jokinen as an extra forward during this morning's session.
Forward Colin Wilson, who left Saturday's game against the Rangers and did not play Sunday in Florida, participated in the morning skate in his normal spot on the second line, but Head Coach Peter Laviolette did not say whether or not Wilson would play tonight, calling him day-to-day.
Defenseman Mattias Ekholm, who left Sunday's game against Florida, did not participate this morning and is considered day-to-day.Nashville Morning Skate Lines:
Forsberg - Ribeiro - Smith
Wilson (day-to-day) - Fisher - Neal
Cullen - Jarnkrok - Bourque
Nystrom - Gaustad - Beck
Extras: Jokinen, StalbergDefensemen:
Josi - Weber
Volchenkov - Jones
Bitetto - Bartley
Carter Hutton*Probable StarterTampa Bay Projected Lines:
Filppula - Stamkos - Callahan
Palat - Johnson - Kucherov
Killorn - Paquette - Drouin
Brown - Boyle - ConnollyDefensemen:
Nesterov - Stralman
Hedman - Sustr
Barberio - WitkowskiGoaltenders:
Ben Bishop*Projected Starter