(11-4-2) Nashville Predators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (9-7-2)
6:30 P.M. | Air Canada Centre
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game
The Nashville Predators will face the Maple Leafs in Toronto for just the 11th time ever tonight, with a 6:30 p.m. faceoff from Air Canada Centre. This evening marks the first visit between the two this season, as the Leafs are set to travel to Music City in February.
Nashville is coming off of a 2-1 win over Winnipeg on Saturday night, the seventh occasion this season in which the Preds have given up the first goal of the game, only to come back and record a victory. Craig Smith scored the game-winner with just over two minutes to play in the contest, improving the Preds record to 11-4-2 on the campaign and earning Head Coach Peter Laviolette his 400th career victory behind the bench.
The Predators top line of Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro and James Neal continues to set the offensive pace for the club. On Saturday, a member - or members - of the line tallied points for the ninth-straight game. The trio was last held without points on Oct. 25 against Pittsburgh (in the only game the Preds have been shut out this season).
Although Forsberg saw his six-game goal streak and seven-game point streak come to a halt on Saturday, the rookie still continues to receive recognition from around the hockey world. The Swede was honored as the NHL's Third Star of the Week on Monday, as Forsberg recorded five points (2g-3a) during the previous week. Forsberg leads all NHL rookies in points with 20 (8g-12a) and is tops in the entire League in plus/minus (+19).
On the other side of the red line, Phil Kessel leads Toronto in goals (11) and points (22). The Leafs are 6-3-1 in their last 10, but have dropped two in a row coming into tonight's contest, including a 6-2 defeat on home ice to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. In fact, Toronto is just 5-5-0 this season at home on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Preds forwards Olli Jokinen, James Neal and Derek Roy have all recorded hat tricks during their NHL careers against the Maple Leafs. Nashville holds an 8-6-(1)-0 all-time record against Toronto, including a 5-4-1 mark at the Air Canada Centre.
What to Watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown:
Nashville Morning Skate Lines:
Forsberg - Ribeiro - Neal
Cullen - Jokinen - Roy
Wilson - Jarnkrok - Smith
Nystrom - Gaustad - BeckDefensemen:
Josi - Weber
Volchenkov - Jones
Ekholm - EllisGoaltenders:
Maple Leafs Update:
Jonathan Bernier is expected to start in goal for Toronto tonight. Bernier is 8-2-0-0 all-time against the Predators, with a 1.91 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.
Fil with Steve & E.J.
Preds rookie Filip Forsberg chatted with Steve Mears & E.J. Hradek on NHL Live Monday afternoon. Hear what the Swede had to say about his early-season success and life on the ice in Nashville: