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Game Day: Preds vs. Rangers

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(41-15-7) Nashville Predators vs. New York Rangers (38-17-6)
  6 P.M. | Madison Square Garden
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game

The Nashville Predators begin a quick, two-game road trip tonight in the Big Apple, facing the New York Rangers on NHL Trade Deadline Day 2015. It's the first of two games in as many nights; the Preds head across the river on Tuesday evening to play the New Jersey Devils.

The Preds and Rangers have already gotten together once this season, a 3-2 win for the Predators in Nashville back in early February.

The Preds take to the ice in New York City for the first stop of their ninth back-to-back series of the season and their fifth back-to-back set to consist of two road games. On the season, the Preds are 5-0-3 on the front end of these two-game sets and 3-3-2 on the back end. Nashville has two remaining back-to-back matchups on their schedule: March 14 at Los Angeles/March 15 at Anaheim and March 28 at Washington/March 29 vs. Calgary.

With two assists against Detroit on Saturday, defenseman Roman Josi tallied the eighth multi-assist game of his season and the 25th multi-point performance of his career. The Bern, Switzerland, native leads Preds defensemen in points (11g-35a-46ts), is third in points on the Preds and sixth among all NHL defenders. Josi, who averages 26:30 time on ice (first on the team and fourth in the League), has blocked 169 shots this season, a team high and a mark that is second in the NHL.

Mike Ribeiro recorded his team-leading 40th assist of the season on Saturday afternoon against the Red Wings, a mark that ties him for sixth overall in the League. The Montreal native is three assists from tying Cliff Ronning’s 43-assist 2000-01 season for second-most assists by a Preds center in a season in franchise history, and four helpers from tying Jason Arnott’s 44-assist 2007-08 season for the top spot. With his Saturday assist, Ribeiro tied Filip Forsberg for first on the Preds in points this season (12g-40a-52pts). His 52 points are the most he has tallied since 2011-12 with Dallas (18g-45a-63pts, 74gp). Ribeiro leads Preds forwards in average time on ice (18:40) and is fourth on the team in power-play points (11).

Preds Captain Shea Weber tallied nine shots on goal on Saturday against Detroit, tying the season high he set on Tuesday against Colorado and one off of his career high (10, twice, most recently Jan. 2, 2010). Weber’s nine shots led Nashville, the third-consecutive game he has been tops on the team in the category. The Sicamous, B.C., native, who has recorded 17 points (7g-10a) in his last 24 games, is second among team defensemen in points (15g-28a-43pts) and is tied for seventh in the points category among all NHL blueliners. Weber’s 15 goals tie him for fourth among League defensemen in the category and include a shorthanded tally, five power-play goals and two game-winning goals.

Sunday was an eventful day for New York as the Rangers completed three separate trades in a single 24-hour span.

First, the Rangers acquired defenseman Keith Yandle from Arizona, giving them another solid option on the blue line to go along with names like Marc Staal and former Predator Kevin Klein. A few hours after trading for Yandle, the Blueshirts made another deal, this time for forward Carl Klingberg in exchange for Lee Stempniak. Finally, New York completed their third swap by adding James Sheppard from San Jose for a 2016 fourth-round pick.

Yandle is expected to be in the lineup for the Rangers tonight against the Predators.

As far as players who will for sure be in the Rangers lineup tonight, forward Rick Nash leads New York's offensive charge, potting 37 goals this season, second-best in the NHL, to go along with 58 points. Derick Brassard, Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan have put up 48, 44 and 43 points, respectively.

Goaltender Henrik Lunqvist remains out for the Rangers due to a throat injury, giving Cam Talbot the nod in goal. Talbot is 12-6-3 on the season, including 7-1-1 in his last nine starts.

The Preds have lost two-consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season and are 2-2-1 in their last five outings. The Rangers are 8-1-1 in their last 10 and 20-7-5 at Madison Square Garden this season.

All-time against the Rangers, the Predators are 9-8-(1)-1 and in 10 visits to MSG, they are 6-3-(1)-0. Last season, New York and Nashville played twice, each recording wins as the visiting team.

Morning Skate Update:

From Preds radio broadcaster Willy Daunic, Nashville's lines during the morning skate in New York were as follows:

Wilson - Ribeiro - Neal

Forsberg- Fisher - Smith

Cullen - Santorelli - Beck

Nystrom - Gaustad - Bourque/Jarnkrok

Josi - Weber

Ekholm - Franson

Jones - Bartley

Ellis - Volchenkov (IR)
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