It's a Saturday night in Smashville as the Detroit Red Wings come to town to face the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. It's the second and final meeting of the season between the two clubs; the Preds fell to the Wings in Detroit back in October.
Nashville is coming off a 2-0 shutout victory over Edmonton on Thursday, giving the Preds at least a point in six consecutive home games and an 8-2-1 mark in their last 11 outings. Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen tallied for the Predators against the Oilers and Pekka Rinne stopped all 31 shots he faced.
A goal and a helper on Thursday gave Johansen 38 points to continue to lead the Preds in scoring, followed by Filip Forsberg who has 15 goals and 33 points. Arvidsson has tallied 13 times and registered 32 points; Mike Fisher has 12 goals and 30 points. James Neal's 17 goals are tops on the team. Rinne is 20-13-6 on the season; Juuse Saros is 5-3-2.
Detroit (21-21-9) went back and forth to defeat the New York Islanders 5-4 on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena. With two points last night, Henrik Zetterberg leading the team in scoring with 37 points and Thomas Vanek with 32. Vanek, Tomas Tatar, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha have 12 goals each this season. Petr Mrazek got the win on Friday night and is 11-12-5 on the season; Jared Coreau is 5-2-3.
Video: The Preds web team has a preview of DET vs. NSH
Update: Roman Josi has been activated from Injured Reserve and is expected to play tonight. Mike Ribeiro and Juuse Saros were assigned to Milwaukee (AHL) this morning, while Marek Mazanec was recalled.
Nashville's projected lineup may be seen here.
As Nashville looks to keep the home point streak alive, here are three things to watch:
If Looks Could Kill:
Nashville's top line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson combined for both goals in a 2-0 win over Edmonton on Thursday night, and when asked what led to the trio's success after the game, Johansen had this to offer: "We're all really good looking."
That could very well play into things, but the numbers say the line has found a unique amount of chemistry, something Head Coach Peter Laviolette spoke on.
"I think Ryan and Filip had been together before, so we knew that there was some chemistry there; it's the fact that Arvi has evolved into the player that he is," Laviolette said. "His speed, his tenacity, his ability to get a shot off… not to take away from Filip and Joey because they are playing excellent right now, it's just the fact that Viktor has evolved into the player that he is and now they're getting time to find some chemistry over time."
Video: Watson and Josi discuss tonight's game
Focusing in on a specific member of that top line, centerman Ryan Johansen has had the team lead in points for a while, and with eight points and three multi-point efforts in his last six games, he doesn't appear to intend on relinquishing that title.
Johansen scored Nashville's second goal on Thursday, his first tally with a netminder between the pipes since Dec. 20 at New Jersey. That'll undoubtedly help the confidence as the Preds continue to look to get different elements of their offense going down the stretch.
Video: Coach Laviolette talks tonight's matchup
If It Isn't Broken…
Entering Thursday night's game, the Predators looked at their loss in Pittsburgh on Tuesday as more of a hiccup than anything else. After a 2-0 win over Edmonton, Nashville proved not pushing the panic button was the right move, and according to Captain Mike Fisher, what's been working as of late could yield the same results once more this evening.
"I feel like the last little while, we've definitely played some good hockey," Fisher said. "We've played really hard, and it feels like now, any night, we know we're coming and we can play the way we've been playing… It only gets harder from here on in with a lot of tough games and we have to continue this."
When You Go:
Prior to the game, Preds alumni Cliff Ronning and Blake Geoffrion will be on hand to skate with fans as the Smashville Outdoor Rink, presented by Nissan, from 3-4 p.m. CT.
The Lee Company Plaza Party is back tonight, beginning at 5 p.m. CT on the Bridgestone Arena Plaza prior to the 5:30 p.m. doors to enter the venue. Assistance League of Nashville will be collecting new, youth socks this evening as the night's feature charity. Tonight's Grow the Gold game is passport or credit card entry only.
Preds fans are also invited to check out the brand-new Pred-al Tavern prior to the contest.
Take It In:
Tonight's game comes with a 7 p.m. CT puck drop, and coverage on Fox Sports Tennessee begins at 6:30 p.m. with Predators Live! pregame. The Predators Radio Network has pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on 102.5 The Game.