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Game Day: Maple Leafs vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(3-8-4) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Nashville Predators (9-3-2)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #TORvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Subway Student Rush Night


Two days after scoring seven goals in a 7-5 defeat of the Ottawa Senators, the Nashville Predators will host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds carry a 9-3-2 record into Thursday's outing, while the Leafs are fresh off of a 3-2 victory against Dallas, but have just three wins on the season.

Four different Nashville defensemen scored a goal on Tuesday, the most in a single game in franchise history, while 12 different skaters registered at least one point against the Sens.

The line of Gabriel Bourque, Austin Watson and Colton Sissons combined for an offensive explosion of six points (3g-3a) against Ottawa, with each posting a plus-4 rating and combining for four shots on the night. Watson, who had four points in 16 career NHL games going into the night (1g-3a), led the team with three points (1g-2a).

Preds Captain Shea Weber, who is slated to appear in his 700th career game tonight, took care of two milestones on Tuesday, recording his 150th career goal and his 400th career point on the same play. Weber is just the third player in Preds franchise history to record 400 points with the club and only the third active NHL defenseman to tally 150 goals.

In addition to Weber's offensive prowess on the backend, Roman Josi leads Preds defensemen with 11 points (4g-7a). In fact, Preds blueliners rank second in points in the NHL with 40 and first with 13 goals.

Josi and James Neal (7g-4a) are tied for the Nashville lead in scoring with 11 points each. Weber and Josi are tied for second, behind Neal, in goals with four, and Josi, Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro and Seth Jones each have seven assists. Through the first 13 games of the season, 20 different Preds have registered at least one point. Eleven different players have multiple goals.

Nashville's 32.2 shots per game is first in the NHL and average shot differential of plus-4.2 ranks fourth. The Preds have a 6-0-1 record when holding the opponent to two goals or less, and 6-1-1 when scoring three goals or more.

Defenseman Morgan Rielly leads the Maple Leafs in points with 11 (3g-8a), followed by fellow d-man Dion Phaneuf with nine (1g-8a). Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk and Leo Komarov have each tallied five goals for the Leafs on the season. James Reimer, who is 3-2-3 with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage, is expected to get the start against the Preds.

The Predators have won their last three meetings versus the Maple Leafs dating back to Nov. 21, 2013. Nashville won both meetings against Toronto last season, including a 4-3 win on Feb. 3, 2015, at Bridgestone Arena, and a 9-2 win on Nov. 18, 2014, at the Air Canada Centre when it tied the franchise record for goals in a game. All-time, the Predators own a 10-6-1 record vs. the Maple Leafs.


Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Mike Fisher, Seth Jones and Colton Sissons


Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette


Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

Center Paul Gaustad (day-to-day, lower-body) participated in Thursday's morning skate, but not line rushes. Goaltender Carter Hutton (Injured Reserve, upper-body) was also on the ice this morning. Forward Eric Nystrom (Injured Reserve, upper-body) was absent.


Forwards
Filip Forsberg Mike Fisher James Neal
Colin Wilson Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Miikka Salomaki Calle Jarnkrok Cody Hodgson
Gabriel Bourque Colton Sissons Austin Watson
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis

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Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the expected starter in net with Marek Mazanec serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Victor Bartley, (D) Anthony Bitetto, (F) Colton Sissons, Carter Hutton (IR), Eric Nystrom (IR)


Toronto Maple Leafs:

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk Nazem Kadri Leo Komarov
Shawn Matthias Tyler Bozak PA Parenteau
Daniel Winnik Nick Spaling Joffery Lupul
Peter Holland Byron Froese Michael Grabner
Defense
Jake Gardiner Dion Phaneuf
Matt Hunwik Morgain Rielly
Scott Harrington Roman Polak

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Goaltenders: James Reimer is expected to start in net with Jonathan Bernier serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Stephane Robidas, (F) Brad Boyes

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