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Game Day: Preds at Senators

James Neal Looks to Keep Goal Streak Alive as Preds Search for Road Success

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

A visit to the Canadian capital this evening will see the Nashville Predators face the Ottawa Senators for the second time in less than two weeks, wrapping up their season series north of the border. Nashville is in the midst of a three-game trip, falling to the Maple Leafs 6-2 on Tuesday night.

The loss brought an end to Nashville's three-game win streak and six-game point streak, as they look to right the ship away from home.

"I think we've been playing better; [Tuesday] night, we talked about it as a team, we were confident in the fact that we would get 20 scoring chances, but what we needed to do a better job of was trying to control their scoring chances," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "We did some things that we can't do on the road that we need to get better at in order to be successful."

Despite the loss on Tuesday, James Neal extended his goal streak to five consecutive games, tying a career high. Neal's seven goals overall lead the Preds in the category, and he's tied with fellow winger Filip Forsberg for the team lead in points with 11. Viktor Arvidsson, who scored his fifth of the season in the last outing is second on the club with 10 points, followed by P.K. Subban, Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen with eight points each. Goaltender Pekka Rinne, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, practiced on Thursday. Marek Mazanec started for Nashville on Tuesday, making 26 stops in the loss.

After falling 3-1 to the Predators in Nashville last week, the Senators (10-5-1) have points in four-straight contests, including a 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers on Tuesday. Defenseman Erik Karlsson leads the club in points with 14, including three goals. Kyle Turris has tallied on eight occasions this season and Ryan Dzingel has five goals. Netminder Craig Anderson is 8-3-1 on the season with a .934 save percentage.

Video: Thomas Willis has a preview of Preds and Sens

As the Preds look for their second road win of the season, here are three things to watch for against the Sens.

Second Home:

It's been over five years since Mike Fisher was traded from Ottawa to Nashville, but the Preds captain still has plenty of friends on and off the ice that make every return special. Fisher began his NHL career in Ottawa during the 1999-00 season, seeing over a decade of service in the capital.

"I just try to enjoy every game, and it is always special coming back to Ottawa knowing there's so many friends and family on the other side of the organization," Fisher said. "I was blessed with a lot of good years here and it's always fun to be back.

"It still feels like a second home to me - the people and family and fans, it still feels a little bit like home."

Road Smarts:

The Predators have continued to solidify themselves as one of the tougher teams to face at home in the League, but the team is still looking for success on the road. They've recorded a win just once away from home through eight games, and Tuesday night's outing in Toronto showed some areas for improvement that were noted by those in charge.

We've just got to be smarter; we're getting our chances and looks offensively, I feel like we're just not playing a smart road game," Fisher said. "We have to be better defensively and a little bit smarter, manage the game better, and if we do that… I think the effort was there last night, but we're not executing and playing smart, solid road games. We're going to have to do that and approach it a little bit smarter."

The Real Deal:

James Neal has a chance to do something tonight in Ottawa that he's never done before in his 577 NHL games to this point - and that's score in six of them consecutively. Neal is riding a five-game goal streak, tied for a career high, and with the way linemates Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson are helping, there's reason to believe he could hit the back of the net once more this evening.

"He's playing well right now, and he's finding the back of the net," forward Austin Watson said of Neal. "We need that out of him. He's a big part of our team, not just from a leadership standpoint, but from offensive production. He's a guy we need going for us, and he's taking care of business."

Take It In:

Tonight's game in Ottawa comes with a 6:30 p.m. (CT) start time, beginning with the Predators Live! pregame show on Fox Sports Tennessee beginning at 6 p.m. Willy Daunic, Stu Grimson and Lyndsay Rowley call the action on the television side while Pete Weber and Brent Peterson handle radio duties on 102.5 The Game and the Preds Radio Network.

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