(34-12-6) Nashville Predators vs. Florida Panthers (23-17-10)
2 P.M. | BB&T Center
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game
Less than 24 hours after defeating the New York Rangers 3-2, the Nashville Predators will be back on the ice this afternoon to face the Florida Panthers in the Sunshine State.
Sunday's game against the Panthers is the second stop of the Preds seventh back-to-back series of the season and the second to start on home ice and finish on the road. Nashville is 5-0-2 on the front end of these two-game sets, but just 1-3-2 in the latter outing.
The contest against Florida is Nashville's fifth matinee matchup this season and its second in as many days. The Preds have a record of 4-0-0 in afternoon games, including yesterday's victory over the Rangers.
Mike Ribeiro tallied his second game-winning goal of the season to secure Saturday's win over the Rangers, the 700th point of his NHL career
. Ribeiro, who leads the Preds and is tied for sixth in the League with 33 assists, also has 44 points this season, second on the team. The Montreal native has 27 points (6g-21a) in his last 30 games.
Pekka Rinne, who returned to the Nashville lineup on Thursday after missing the previous eight games with a knee injury, leads the NHL with 30 wins this season. His 2.02 goals-against average is first and his .929 save percentage is second among all League goaltenders.
Saturday marked the fifth time in the past seven games that both members of Nashville's top defensive pairing have found the scoresheet. With two points, Roman Josi took over the top spot in scoring among Preds defensemen with 37 points. Shea Weber, who tallied a goal against the Rangers, has 36 points on the season.
With an assist on Ribeiro's game-winning goal on Saturday, Filip Forsberg has recorded an assist in every February game (4gp, 5a), a career-best assist streak. The rookie has eight points in his last eight games and has recorded 12 points on game-winning goals this season. Forsberg leads Nashville and all NHL rookies in points with 47.
Nick Bjugstad is Florida's top point-getter this season, with 17 goals and 32 points on the campaign. Rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad is second on the club in points with 29, while forward Jonathan Huberdeau has posted 28.
In his second stint between the pipes in South Florida, Roberto Luongo leads the team in wins, going 19-13-8 on the season with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. The Panthers have won two in a row but are just 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. Florida is 11-8-4 on home ice this season.
This afternoon's game between Nashville and Florida is the 21st all-time meeting between the clubs, dating back to Oct. 10, 1998, when the Predators played their inaugural game versus the Panthers at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville is 9-7-(3)-1 in the previous 20 games and have claimed points in eight of the last 10 meetings between the two teams. In Sunrise, the Preds are 3-5-(1)-1 all-time.