(22-25-4) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Nashville Predators (32-11-6)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M. Tickets
The Nashville Predators return home to Bridgestone Arena tonight to face the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second and final time this season. Nashville defeated Toronto 9-2 in the only other meeting between the two back in November.
Nashville's win against the Avalanche last Tuesday at home was the club's eighth-consecutive victory at Bridgestone Arena, tying the franchise record set back in 2007. On the season, this is the Preds second home winning streak of seven or more games. On home ice this campaign, the Predators are 19-2-1, tied for the NHL lead in both home wins and points (39).
Goaltender Carter Hutton stopped all 21 shots he faced on Sunday against Pittsburgh to record his second career shutout and third win of the season. The victory on Sunday was Nashville's only win on their most recent road trip, a three-game stretch that saw them go 1-1-1.
Rookie Filip Forsberg recorded his 12th multi-point game of the season (2a) on Sunday against the Penguins, including an assist on Roman Josi's game-winning goal. Forsberg leads Nashville in both goals (17) and points (44) this season, putting him in the Top 25 in the League in both categories. Additionally, Forsberg's +25 is tied for third overall in the NHL. The Swede is just two goals from passing Alexander Radulov for most goals by a rookie in franchise history.
Nashville's top defensive pairing of Shea Weber (10g-24a-34pts) and Roman Josi (9g-24a-33pts) are both among the League's Top 15 defensemen in points. The two blueliners, who have both played in all 49 of Nashville's games this season, sit back-to-back among all NHL skaters in time on ice, with Weber in fourth (26:25) and Josi in fifth (26:22).
Mike Ribeiro's 33 assists leads the Preds and is sixth overall in the League, putting him three helpers away from tying David Legwand and Cliff Ronning for the third-most assists in a season by a Nashville center. Ribeiro has 26 points in his last 27 games and is just one point away from 700 for his career.
Phil Kessel is the leading point-getter in Toronto, putting up 45 in 51 games this season, including 20 goals. James van Riemsdyk has the team lead in goals with 21 and is just two points behind Kessel with 43. Forward Tyler Bozak (33) and former Nashville defenseman Cody Franson (29) place third and fourth on the club in points.
Jonathan Bernier has seen a majority of the action for the Leafs this season, going 16-15-4 with a 2.71 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. Bernier has been announced as Toronto's starting goaltender for tonight's matchup.
Former Preds assistant coach and current Toronto Interim Head Coach Peter Horachek has been in charge of the Leafs since Jan. 7 after Randy Carlyle was fired from the head coaching position. Things have yet to turn around, however, as the Leafs are just 1-8-1 in their last 10 games and have lost nine games in a row.
Just the 17th overall meeting between the two squads all-time, the Preds hold a 9-6-(1)-0 record against Toronto, including a 3-2-(0)-0 record on home ice.
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Players: Colin Wilson, Victor Bartley and Taylor Beck
What to Watch for: Stu and Willy's Breakdown
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Morning Skate Update:
The Preds held a morning skate at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday ahead of their contest against Toronto. Goaltenders Pekka Rinne, Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec all participated in the session. Rinne is not expected to play tonight against Toronto, with Head Coach Peter Laviolette stating after the skate that Rinne continues to be evaluated and it will be up to the team doctors as to when he returns.
Nashville Morning Skate Lines:
Forsberg - Ribeiro - Smith
Wilson - Fisher - Neal
Cullen - Jarnkrok - Bourque
Nystrom - Gaustad - Beck
Josi - Weber
Ekholm - Volchenkov
Bartley - Jones
Pekka Rinne (not expected to dress)
Toronto Projected Lines:
van Riemsdyk - Bozak - Kessel
Lupul - Kadri - Winnik
Komarov - Holland - Santorelli
Panik - Smith - Clarkson
Gardiner - Franson
Rielly - Polak
Holzer - Granberg