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Nashville Hosts Vancouver as Race for Central Division Continues

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

The final homestand of the 2018-19 regular season begins tonight for the Nashville Predators as they host the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena. It's the third and final meeting between the two clubs this season; the Preds and Canucks have split their two contests thus far, both of which came in December.

Nashville's push for home-ice advantage and a Central Division crown continues as well as they - along with the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets - each have two games remaining to determine the final standings.

From the Predators' perspective, they're keeping tabs on their opponents, but they know the only thing they can control is their own play, and Tuesday's 3-2 win in Buffalo was another positive in the final stretch.

[Read More: Preds Projected Lineup vs. Canucks]

[Read More: Veteran Hamhuis Mentoring Rookie Fabbro on Nashville Blue Line]

Austin Watson returned to the Nashville lineup on Tuesday and helped to form perhaps the most ideal lineup the Preds have had all season long, with all four forward lines impressing Head Coach Peter Laviolette throughout the night. While winning is always paramount, the focus on the process remains, but even so, there is a different element to that with the postseason now less than one week away.

"We've won a lot of games lately, but every day you have to wake up and do the work," Laviolette said. "That process changes even in the playoffs. You could go out and dominate in Game 1 and get your butt whooped in Game 2, so how's the process? Every day you have to wake up and go do the work.

Video: Subban, Johansen pace Predators past Sabres, 3-2

Last Time Out:

Craig Smith, P.K. Subban and Ryan Johansen all tallied for the Preds in their 3-2 win over the Sabres on Tuesday night in Buffalo, while Pekka Rinne stopped 26 shots on the night.

Johansen figures to win Nashville's scoring title this season; he enters tonight's contest with 63 points, followed by Roman Josi with 56, and then Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson who are tied at 47 apiece. Arvidsson's 33 goals are one off of setting a new team record for goals in a single season; he's followed by Forsberg with 27 and Smith with 21.

Video: Josi, Granlund on virtual three-team tie for Central

The Opposition:

Vancouver has been eliminated from playoff contention, but they've won three straight, including a 4-2 victory over San Jose on Tuesday night in their final home game of the season. Rookie phenom Elias Pettersson leads the club with 27 goals and 65 points, followed by Bo Horvat with 61 points and Brock Boeser with 55. Horvat also has 27 goals on the season; Boeser has 26. Jacob Markstrom is 28-22-9 in net for the Canucks this season.

All-Time Meetings:

The Predators are 30-35-(2)-6 all-time against the Canucks, including a 16-14-(1)-6 record at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds are 8-4-1 in their last 13 games against the Canucks, including wins in six of their last nine meetings. Nashville has earned a point in six of its last seven games versus Vancouver at Bridgestone Arena (5-1-1) and has limited the Canucks to two-or-fewer goals in four of those contests.

Video: Laviolette talks Fabbro and team process vs. results

Notables Versus Vancouver:

Roman Josi has nine points (9a) in his last eight games against the Canucks, including a current six-game point streak (7a). Calle Jarnkrok has seven points (4g-3a) in his last six games against Vancouver, including a game-winning goal (3/2/18) and two multi-point efforts.

Nick Bonino has 12 points (8g-4a) in 21 career matchups with the Canucks, and he spent the 2014-15 season with Vancouver, tallying 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points.

Ryan Johansen (Port Moody), Colton Sissons (North Vancouver), Kyle Turris (New Westminster) and Dante Fabbro (Coquitlam) are all from the Vancouver area.

When You Go:

Bridgestone Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT ahead of tonight's 7 p.m. puck drop on Social Media Night in Smashville. Be sure to follow the team @PredsNHL on social media throughout the night as Fan Appreciation Week continues.

Video: Preds host Canucks in penultimate home game

Watch and Listen:

Coverage for tonight's contest begins with Predators Live on Fox Sports Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. (CT). 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. 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.

For the latest on the Predators' potential Round One opponent, click here.

Streaming Info:

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

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