After a successful four-game home stand, the Nashville Predators have jetted north for a two-game set, beginning tonight against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. It's the second and final meeting for the two clubs this season; Nashville earned a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to Buffalo last month.
The Preds picked up seven of a possible eight points over the last four games, including a weekend sweep with wins over Washington and Edmonton. A 5-4 victory on Sunday over the Oilers saw goals from Ryan Ellis, Filip Forsberg, Vernon Fiddler, Colin Wilson and Viktor Arvidsson, plus a win in net from Pekka Rinne.
Nashville's first line of Ryan Johansen, Forsberg and Arvidsson are at the top of the team's scoring leaders, starting with Johansen, who has 47 points on the season, one ahead of Forsberg. Arvidsson has 44 points and defenseman Roman Josi has registered 36 points. Forsberg, who has eight goals in his last four games, leads the team is goals with 24, followed by Arvidsson with 21 and James Neal with 18. Rinne is 24-15-6 in net for the Predators; Juuse Saros has gone 7-5-3.
Buffalo (26-26-10) dropped a 3-2 decision to Arizona on Sunday and have lost three straight. Kyle Okposo leads the team with 39 points, one ahead of Sam Reinhart and Ryan O'Reilly. Evander Kane leads the team in goals with 21, while Okposo has 18. Robin Lehner owns a 17-18-6 mark in net for Buffalo; Anders Nilsson is 9-8-4.
As the Preds look for their fourth consecutive victory, here are three things to watch for:
Simply the Best:
After back-to-back hat tricks and eight goals overall in four games, Filip Forsberg was named the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday, and rightfully so. He started the season slow, but Forsberg's pace has been outstanding since the calendar flipped to 2017.
The Swede is on a season-high, four-game goal streak and season-high, five-game point streak, recording 11 points (8g-3a) in his last five contests. Forsberg also leads the NHL in goals since Dec. 19 with 21 and the Preds are 15-1-3 this season when he scores a goal.
Arvi, Arvi, Arvi:
Forsberg isn't the only one riding a goal streak - fellow linemate Viktor Arvidsson has found the back of the net in three-straight games, a career high. He's also producing at over a point-per-game pace, tallying 14 points (9g-5a) in his last 12 contests. The line of Forsberg, Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen combined for 22 points during Nashville's recent four-game home stand.
Let's Go (to) Buffalo:
Trips to upstate New York have been kind in recent memory to the Preds; Nashville has won five consecutive games in Buffalo and is 8-1-1 all-time at KeyBank Center. During their five consecutive wins in the city, the Predators have given up an average of just 1.4 goals-per-game. Ryan Johansen, who leads the Preds with 38 helpers - has assists in five-straight outings against the Sabres.
Take It In:
Tonight's game in Buffalo comes with a 6 p.m. CT puck drop with pregame coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Tennessee. The Predators Radio Network and 102.5 The Game start with coverage at 5 p.m.