The Nashville Predators return to the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena tonight for the first time in 2020, and they'll try for points in three-straight games, as they close out their season series with the Boston Bruins. The Preds and B's got together in Boston four days before Christmas, and Nashville prevailed with a 4-3 triumph in overtime.
On Monday, Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/GM David Poile announced that the team had relieved Head Coach Peter Laviolette and Associate Coach Kevin McCarthy of their coaching responsibilities.
"Under the leadership of Peter and Kevin, our organization reached unprecedented heights - from our franchise-altering run to the Stanley Cup Final to a Presidents' Trophy and our first two Central Division titles," Poile said. "Their passion for the game, ability to motivate a team and drive to be the best makes this a difficult decision. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Peter and Kevin for all their contributions to the Nashville Predators over the past five-and-a-half seasons."
After falling in the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day, the Preds headed west for a back-to-back set in Southern California and collected three out of a possible four points over the weekend. Nashville started with a 4-1 victory in Los Angeles on Saturday, before falling in a shootout, 5-4, in Anaheim.
The Predators were without Ryan Ellis (upper-body injury, Injured Reserve), Matt Duchene (illness), Colton Sissons (lower-body injury, Injured Reserve) and Dante Fabbro (upper-body injury, day-to-day) for both games over the weekend. Ellis was injured in the NHL Winter Classic, and Sissons hasn't played since Dec. 27 against Pittsburgh.
Defenseman Alexandre Carrier dressed for the Preds on Sunday night in Anaheim for his third career NHL game and his first since January of 2017.
The Predators flew back to Nashville on Monday and are expected to hold a full morning skate ahead of tonight's game against Boston.
Video: NSH Recap: Josi sets franchise record in SO loss
Last Time Out:
Craig Smith scored twice, and Watson and Rocco Grimaldi also tallied in regulation during Nashville's 5-4 shootout loss to the Ducks on Sunday. Preds Captain Roman Josi picked up an assist on Grimaldi's game-tying goal in the third period to give him points in 10 consecutive games, a Predators record for defensemen.
Josi continues to lead his club in scoring with 44 points, followed by Filip Forsberg, Duchene and Ellis with 28 points each. Calle Jarnkrok has 27 points on the season, and Ryan Johansen has 26. Josi and Forsberg are tied for the team lead with 14 goals apiece, Nick Bonino has 13 and Jarnkrok has 12. Pekka Rinne collected the win on Saturday in Los Angeles, while Juuse Saros took the shootout loss on Sunday.
Boston has lost three-straight games - including a 4-1 loss to Edmonton on Saturday, but they do have points in nine of their last 10 outings going 4-1-5 in that span. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand continue to lead the way for the Bruins with 61 and 60 points, respectively. Pastrnak's 31 goals lead the NHL, and 15 of those tallies have come on the power play.
Marchand has 20 goals, Patrice Bergeron has 17 goals and 36 points, and Jake DeBrusk has 11 goals on the season. Tuukka Rask is 15-4-6 in net for the Bruins with a .923 save percentage; Jaroslav Halak is 9-4-5 with a .928 save percentage.
The Predators are 14-13-(1)-2 all-time against the Bruins, including a 10-5-(0)-0 record at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville has won six of its last nine meetings against Boston (6-3-0).
At home, the Preds have won five in a row and have points in eight of their last nine games versus the Bruins (8-1-0). Nashville's last regulation loss at home to Boston was on Dec. 23, 2013.
Boston is the only team that Nashville has never had a transaction with since the 1998 NHL Expansion Draft, in which the Predators selected center Mike Sullivan.
Notables Versus Boston:
Kyle Turris has 21 points (10g-11a), including five multi-point games, in 30 career contests against the Bruins. Ryan Johansen has 13 points (4g-9a) in 15 career games versus the Bruins, and he recorded three assists in Nashville's Dec. 21 win at Boston.
Pekka Rinne is 7-3-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and two shutouts in 11 career games against the Bruins.
When You Go:
Bridgestone Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT ahead of tonight's 7 p.m. puck drop against the Bruins. The first 8,000 fans in attendance will receive a Pekka Rinne bobblehead!
Watch and Listen:
Coverage for tonight's contest begins with Smashville Live on Fox Sports Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. with Lyndsay Rowley and Terry Crisp. Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Kara Hammer have the call on the television side, while Pete Weber and Hal Gill will broadcast on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network. Pregame coverage on the radio side begins at 6 p.m. CT with Darren McFarland. For broadcast information and channel locations throughout the country, click here.
If the Predators are playing hockey, you can count on the game being on at Preds Approved Bars & Restaurants. Locations throughout Tennessee may be seen by clicking here.
Listen to a Live Radio Feed (only active during the game broadcast window).
Watch a Live Stream of the game on the Fox Sports Go App or Watch on NHL.TV