(7-5-5) Florida Panthers vs. Nashville Predators (12-5-2)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: None | Radio: 102.5 The GameTickets
The Nashville Predators begin a four-game homestand tonight, welcoming the Florida Panthers to Bridgestone Arena. It's the first of two meetings between the pair of clubs this season, although the Preds swept a preseason, split-squad doubleheader with the Panthers in September.
The Predators will try to get back to their winning ways after falling on Thursday to Ottawa. Nashville has yet to lose consecutive games this season. The Preds remain atop the Central Division with 26 points.
Olli Jokinen tallied his first point as a member of the Predators on Thursday, a goal in the third period against the Senators. The veteran forward is now just nine points away from hitting the 750-point mark for his career. Jokinen sported a Panthers sweater from 2000-08, appearing in 567 games and recording 419 points (188g-231a) over that time. His career goals and points as a Panther still stand as franchise-leading marks. In 16 games against Florida in his career, Jokinen has five goals and five assists.
Shea Weber continues to not only shutdown the League's top players, but also put points on the scoresheet for the Preds. Nashville's captain tallied his sixth goal of the season on Thursday in Ottawa, a marker that leads Nashville defensemen. After tallying three assists on Tuesday in Toronto, Weber tied Kimmo Timonen (222) for third on the franchise's all-time assist list, and for first among defensemen.
Jussi Jokinen, no relation to Olli, leads the Panthers in points with 12 (2g-10a), while Nick Bjugstad had potted a team-leading six goals for Florida. 2014 first-overall draft pick Aaron Ekblad has tallied two goals and eight assists from the blue line for the Panthers thus far. Roberto Luongo owns a 6-4-4 record for Florida, including a .922 save percentage.
The Panthers are 4-2-4 away from home and are 3-1-1 in their last five outings. However, the Predators are unbeaten in their last eight when hosting the Panthers in Nashville, going 6-0-2-0 since the year 2000. Matt Cullen has faced the Panthers more than any other Predator, posting 27 points (11g-16a) in 43 career games against the Cats.
Tonight's contest can be heard on 102.5 The Game or seen on NHL GameCenter Live (Nashville blackout has been lifted).
Predators Locker Room Video:
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg & Olli Jokinen:
What to Watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown
Morning Skate Updates:
Nashville held an optional morning skate at Bridgestone Arena. Therefore, no official line rushes were completed. The Predators are expected to start Pekka Rinne in goal tonight against the Panthers. Predators Projected Lines:
Forsberg - Ribeiro - Neal
Wilson - Jarnkrok - Smith
Cullen - Jokinen - Roy
Nystrom - Gaustad - BeckDefensemen:
Josi - Weber
Volchenkov - Jones
Ekholm - EllisGoaltenders:
*Probable StarterPanthers Projected Lines:
Huberdeau - Bjugstad - Boyes
Fleischmann - Barkov - Grimaldi
Jokinen - Trochek - Hayes
Kopecky - MacKenzie - ThorntonDefensemen:
Mitchell - Kulikov
Campbell - Ekblad
Olsen - GudbransonGoaltenders: