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Game Day: Rangers vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(20-12-4) New York Rangers vs. Nashville Predators (17-12-6)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #NYRvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Hockey Holidays


The Nashville Predators finish off their holiday home stand tonight as they host the New York Rangers at Bridgestone Arena. It's the final meeting between the two this season; the Preds fell 3-0 to the Rangers on Nov. 23 in New York.

The Predators lost 3-2 against Detroit on Saturday night in their first game since Dec. 21 due to the Christmas Break. The Rangers have not played since Dec. 22, when they defeated Anaheim 3-2.

Mike Fisher, who has been out of the lineup with a lower-body injury since Dec. 1, participated fully in practice on Sunday and could play against the Rangers tonight.

“I’m hoping," Fisher said Sunday of the potential of returning tonight. "I’ll skate [this] morning and that’s what I’m looking for. I feel good, skating really good here for the last week or so and that’s what I’ll hope for [tonight]."

Nashville has posted the fourth-highest power-play percentage in the League during the month of December at 25.6 percent. The Preds have converted on 10-of-39 opportunities this month, which is tied for the second-most goals with the man advantage. During the month of November, Nashville ranked 26th in the NHL on the power play, posting goals in 7-of-48 opportunities (14.6 percent).

Preds Captain Shea Weber has plenty to do with the success on the man advantage, including a hat trick of power-play goals on Dec. 5 at Detroit. Weber leads Nashville's d-corps with 10 goals and paces all NHL defensemen with 15 points in the month of December. The Predators have had 87 points come from their blue line this season, good for second in the League. The Rangers defnsemen are third, combining for 76 points on the backend.

Tonight's contest also features two of the top shot-blocking clubs in the NHL. Nashville ranks sixth in the NHL with 524 blocked shots, while the Rangers are tied for third with 550 shots blocked.

Defenseman Roman Josi leads the Preds in points this season with 26 (9g-17a) while his defensive partner Weber slots second with 25 points. Filip Forsberg is third with 24 points, while James Neal's 13 goals are tops on the team. Mike Ribeiro has 17 assists and 21 points on the season. Pekka Rinne is 14-10-6 with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in 2015-16.

Mats Zuccarello leads the Rangers in goals and points with 15 and 30, respectively. Derick Brassard has 13 goals and 28 points, Rick Nash has recorded 10 goals and 24 points on the season. Oscar Lindberg has also found the back of the net 10 times so far. Henrik Lundqvist is 16-9-3 this season with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.

Monday’s game will conclude the 2015-16 season series between the Predators and Rangers. The Preds are hoping to come away with a split in the series, as the Rangers defeated Nashville in the first game on Nov. 23 by a 3-0 final score. Nashville pelted the Ranger net with a 31-19 shot advantage in the initial meeting, but were unable to get a puck past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
 
The Predators have points in two of their last three homes games against the Rangers, posting a 1-1-1 record in that span. All-time, Nashville has a 9-10-2 record against them, including a 3-5-1 record at Bridgestone Arena.


Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Pekka Rinne, Mike Fisher and Ryan Ellis


What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown


Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette


Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

At noon (CST) on Monday, the Preds activated center Mike Fisher off of Injured Reserve and reassigned forward Colton Sissons to the Milwaukee Admirals. The Predators held an optional morning skate on Monday. The below lineup is based on the team's practice on Sunday afternoon:

Forwards
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Colin Wilson Mike Fisher Viktor Arvidsson
Cody Hodgson Calle Jarnkrok James Neal
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad Miikka Salomaki
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis

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Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the projected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.

Extra: (F) Austin Watson, (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (D) Anthony Bitetto, (D) Petter Granberg


New York Rangers:

Forwards
Rick Nash Derick Brassard Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider Derek Stepan Jesper Fast
Oscar Lindberg Kevin hayes JT Miller
Tanner Glass Dominic Moore Viktor Stalberg
Defense
Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi
Marc Staal Dan Boyle
Keith Yandle Kevin Klein

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Goaltenders: Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start in net with Antti Raanta serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Dylan McIlrath, (F) Emerson Etem

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