(39-12-6) Nashville Predators vs. New York Islanders (38-19-1)
6 P.M. | Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game
After going a perfect 4-0-0 on their most recent home stand, the Nashville Predators are headed east for a three-game road trip, with the first of those stops coming tonight on Long Island against the New York Islanders.
Barring a meeting between the two clubs in June, it'll be the final visit for the Preds to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, as the Islanders will begin playing their home games next season at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn.
The Predators, who own the NHL's best record at 39-12-6, will be in search of their seventh-consecutive victory in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season. That task won't come easily against an Islanders club that sits atop the Metropolitan Division and second in the Eastern Conference.
The Predators acquired defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli on Sunday morning from Toronto, but neither has been able to join the club yet due to immigration issues. The Preds are hoping that both players will be able to meet up with the team at some point during the current road trip.
Nashville's most recent victory, which came on Tuesday over the San Jose Sharks
, was the clubs sixth victory in a row, tying the third-longest win streak in franchise history and sitting two back of tying the overall franchise record of eight. Tuesday's win was also the Preds' 39th of the season, met in 57 games played, passing last season's win mark of 38 victories, and putting them one away from the 40-win plateau. The franchise record for fewest games to 40 wins is 61, met in February of 2007.
Pekka Rinne made a season-high 42 saves on Tuesday night to win his 34th game of the season, most among League goaltenders. His 34 wins put him nine shy of tying his career-high 43 wins set in 2011-12. The Finnish netminder has won five-straight games and has gone 15-1-1 in his last 17 outings. Overall, Rinne is second in the NHL in both goals-against average (1.94) and save percentage (.932).
James Neal recorded his 20th goal of the season on Tuesday against San Jose, moving him into first on the team in goals scored. With the tally, Neal has now recorded 20 or more goals in each of his first seven NHL seasons.
Islanders Captain John Tavares, who is among the League's leaders in points, leads his club with 58 of them, including 28 goals this season. Fellow forwards Kyle Okposo (has 44 points, but is currently injured) and Ryan Strome (37 points) have also helped lead the Isles on offense, while Anders Lee has potted 19 goals for his club. New York has 12 players, including four defensemen, who have at least 20 points on the campaign.
Jaroslav Halak has put up quality numbers in the Islander net, going 31-12-0 this season with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. The Isles are 4-1-0 in their past five contests and have gone 20-7-0 at home this season.
The Preds are 4-2-2 all-time on Long Island while holding an 11-4-2 record over the Islanders in the all-time series. Nashville has garnered points in 10 of 11 games against the Isles since the start of the 2002-03 season, posting an 8-1-2 record.
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Morning Skate Update:
New acquistions Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli were not present at the Predators morning skate. Franson and Santorelli are expected to join the team sometime on Thursday. D-man Ryan Ellis (Injured Reserve, lower-body) skated with the club during their morning session.
Nashville Projected Lines:
Wilson - Ribeiro - Neal
Cullen - Fisher - Smith
Forsberg - Jarnkrok - Beck
Nystrom - Gaustad - Bourque
Josi - Weber
Bitetto - Jones
Ekholm - Bartley
New York Projected Lines:
Lee - Tavares - Bailey
Grabner - Nielson - Strome
Kulemin - Grabovski - Clutterbuck
Martin - Nelson - McDonald
Leddy - Boychuk
Strait - Hamonic
Hickey - Visnovsky