Just 24 hours after defeating one Eastern Conference foe in Brooklyn, the Nashville Predators have shipped up to Boston to face the Bruins tonight at TD Garden to complete a back-to-back set. It's the second and final meeting of the season between the two clubs; the Preds topped Boston 2-1 back on Jan. 12 at Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators beat the New York Islanders by a 3-1 final on Monday night, keeping the Isles from gaining any ground on Boston in the East Wild Card race. Kevin Fiala, Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen tallied for the Preds and Juuse Saros made 24 saves on the night for his ninth win of the season.
Preds Captain Mike Fisher did not make the road trip with the team and remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Yannick Weber missed Monday's game against the Islanders and is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Anthony Bitetto took Weber's place in the Nashville lineup on Monday.
Nashville's top line of Johansen, Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg continues to lead the team in scoring with 58, 56 and 55 points, respectively. Forsberg and Arvidsson are tied for the team lead in goals with 29 apiece; James Neal has potted 23 on the season. Goaltender Pekka Rinne has won his last five decisions and is 30-16-8 between the pipes.
The Bruins (39-30-6) defeated the Islanders on Saturday but list four straight losses prior that victory as they continue to hang onto the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference by one point. Brad Marchand leads Boston with 37 goals and 80 points, followed by David Pastrnak with 32 goals and 64 points. David Krejci has 21 goals on the season; Patrice Bergeron has 17. Tuukka Rask, who returned to practice on Monday for the Bruins after dealing with a lower-body injury, has gone 33-20-4 in net for the Bruins.
Update: For a look at the Predators projected lineup, click here.
As the Preds look to extend their win streak to five games, here are three things to watch for:
30 for 30:
After Viktor Arvidsson tallied what turned out to be the game-winner last night in Brooklyn, he joined teammate Filip Forsberg for the team lead in goals with 29 apiece. Both are now just one goal away from becoming the second Preds duo in as many seasons to both hit the mark with the chance to become the third pair to do it in franchise history. They're also both four goals away from tying the franchise record for goals in a single season with 33. Arvidsson in particular has scored in five of his last six games, including goals in two straight outings.
After Juuse Saros started Monday in New York, it's likely Pekka Rinne would get the nod in Boston tonight. If that's the case, he'll carry a 5-0-0 record in his last five starts with him, his best stretch of the season. Rinne owns a 1.24 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage in his last four outings. In general, Nashville has been stingy defensively as of late, only allowing five goals in their last four games.
Urgent, So Urgent:
The Predators faced a desperate team in New York last night, and handled that challenge well. Now, for the second night in a row, they'll have to do the same against a Boston team that clings to the final Wild Card Spot in the East by one point. As is always the case in a back-to-back, energy conservation will be important for the Predators, especially against a club that will do anything they can to collect points at this juncture of the season.
Take It In:
Tonight's game from TD Garden comes with a 6 p.m. CT puck drop, with pregame coverage beginning on both Fox Sports Tennessee and the Predators Radio Network at 5:30 p.m.