It's a quick trip to Manhattan tonight for the Nashville Predators, as they get set to face the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It's the second and final meeting between the two clubs this season; the Rangers took a 2-1 decision in a shootout at Bridgestone Arena back in December.
Nashville is coming off a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night, helped by two goals from Viktor Arvidsson. Pekka Rinne registered the win in net, and Vernon Fiddler made the second Preds debut of his career after being acquired last weekend. The Predators did not practice on Wednesday before heading to New York.
Ryan Johansen registered an assist on Tuesday and continues to lead the team with 39 points, followed by Arvidsson with 35 and Filip Forsberg with 34. Mike Fisher scored an empty-netter against Vancouver to bump his point total to 31 on the season, including 13 goals. Forsberg and Arvidsson are tied with 15 markers apiece and James Neal leads the club with 17 goals. Rinne is 21-14-6 in goal; Juuse Saros is 5-3-2 on the season.
The Rangers (34-18-1) have won three straight and six of their last eight entering tonight, including a 4-1 decision over Anaheim on Tuesday. J.T. Miller paces the club in points with 42, followed by Mats Zuccarello with 40 and Derek Stepan with 39. Michael Grabner already has 25 goals on the campaign and Chris Kreider has 21 tallies. Henrik Lundqvist has gone 24-13-1 in net for the Rangers this season.
Video: Thomas Willis has a preview of NSH vs. NYR
Update: The Predators are expected to have a similar lineup to the one they used on Tuesday night versus the Canucks. Juuse Saros may start in net for the Nashville. To see their projected lineup, click here.
As the Preds look for two points in snowy New York, here are three things to watch for:
Arvi, Arvi, Arvi:
Viktor Arvidsson's "original" effort on Tuesday - a goal and an assist - was already enough to earn him first-star honors, and then 12 hours after the fact, he was credited with his third point of the night. Initially given to Filip Forsberg, Nashville's game-winning tally now belongs to Arvidsson, his second of the game and 15th of the season.
Alongside new linemates Colin Wilson and Calle Jarnkrok, Arvidsson had one of the better nights of his career as he continues to create chances every time he steps on the ice.
"Just the way we want to play, I think he's an example of that," Forsberg said of Arvidsson. "He plays fast, he plays hard, he goes to the net, he shoots a lot of pucks and obviously he gets rewarded. I think everyone can learn from him, to be honest with you. Just to get that mindset."
Calle Me Maybe:
Although he's done it a bit more quietly, Calle Jarnkrok has been perhaps just as effective as Arvidsson over the last handful of contests. Often praised by Head Coach Peter Laviolette as possessing a hockey IQ that is off the charts, Jarnkrok has found the offensive side of his game recently, recording seven points and three multi-point efforts in his last seven contests. If his new line with Arvidsson and Wilson are any indication, that trend may continue. Keep an eye on that trio to see how they build on a very successful Tuesday.
New York State of Mind:
James Neal has scored on 17 occasions this season for the Preds to lead them in the category, and he'd love to add to that total in a building where he's seen success over his career. Neal has 10 points and four multi-point games in 10 career outings at Madison Square Garden.
Take It In:
Tonight's game comes with a 6 p.m. CT puck drop with coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the Predators Live! pregame show on Fox Sports Tennessee. Predators Pregame commences at 5 p.m. on 102.5 The Game and the Preds Radio Network.