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Nashville Returns Home to Host Arizona Before Christmas Break

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

After finishing off a four-game road trip in Boston, the Nashville Predators are back home for one more contest before the Christmas break, and it comes tonight against the Arizona Coyotes at Bridgestone Arena. It's the second of three meetings between the two Western Conference foes this season; the Preds fell in the desert back in October, and they'll be back in Arizona in March.

That aforementioned excursion went quite well for the Predators as they took seven out of a possible eight points in those four games, including a 4-3 overtime victory against the Bruins on Saturday night. Now, the Preds have one more chance to collect another win before a three-day holiday reprieve, and they want nothing more than to continue climbing the standings.

"We're still in a dogfight," Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne said following Saturday's win. "We still have to win more games and put together some streaks, but at least this is a huge road trip against good teams. We're just looking forward to a little break at Christmastime, but we still have one more game at home."

Winger Viktor Arvidsson returned to the Nashville lineup on Saturday night after missing four games with a lower-body injury. Mikael Granlund was also back for the Preds after dealing with a lower-body injury off and on over the past couple of weeks.

The Preds averaged 5.25 goals per game during the road trip, including a season-high eight on Dec. 17 against the Islanders. It was the seventh time in franchise history the team scored at least eight goals in a game, the fifth time doing so in a road game and the first time since a 9-2 win at Toronto on Nov. 18, 2014.

Nashville's depth was on display as well with 14 different players recording at least one point on the trip, led by seven apiece from top defense pairing Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis.

Video: Ellis scores OT winner as Predators down Bruins

Last Time Out:

It was Ellis who tallied the game-winner with less than a minute to play in overtime in Boston on Saturday night. Josi scored twice on the night, and Filip Forsberg added his 13th goal of the season to tie Josi and Nick Bonino for the team lead. Rinne earned the victory against the Bruins, the first time he has ever won a game in Boston.

Josi has goals in four-straight games for the first time in his career with six over that time span. He leads his club in scoring with 33 points, followed by Ellis with 28. Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok and Ryan Johansen all have 25 points apiece, and Jarnkrok has 12 goals on the season.

Video: Josi, Sissons preview Coyotes

The Opposition:

The Predators will get their first look at an Arizona club with Taylor Hall on their roster. The Coyotes acquired the star winger from New Jersey last week as they look to stay atop the Pacific Division. Arizona topped the Red Wings, 5-2, last night in Detroit.

Hall has a goal and two assists since joining the Coyotes, while Nick Schmaltz leads the team with 29 points. Clayton Keller has 28 points and Christian Dvorak has 23. Conor Garland leads Arizona with 12 goals; Carl Soderberg has 11. Antti Raanta played last night, so the Preds could face goaltender Adin Hill tonight. 

All-Time Meetings:

The Predators are 37-29-(2)-6 all-time against the Coyotes, including a 23-11-(2)-1 record at Bridgestone Arena. Overall, the Preds have won 11 of their last 18 games versus the Coyotes (11-5-2).

Nashville has a point in five of its last eight contests against Arizona (4-3-1), and the Preds have won eight of their last nine home games with the Coyotes.

Notables Versus Arizona:

Pekka Rinne is 19-9-2 in his career against Arizona with a 2.06 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. His six shutouts versus the Coyotes are his most against a single opponent in his career.

Ryan Ellis matched his career high for the second time with two goals on March 20, 2017 versus Arizona. He has 17 points (8g-9a) in 21 career games against the Coyotes - 10 of which (6g-4a) have come in his last eight matchups.  

Craig Smith has 14 points (5g-9a) in 25 career contests with Arizona, and Dan Hamhuis is Nashville's current career leader in points against the Coyotes, logging 23 (9g-14a) in 55 games.

Video: Coach Laviolette previews rematch with the Coyotes

When You Go:

Bridgestone Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT ahead of tonight's 7 p.m. puck drop. In celebration of this season's third Fan Foodie Night, all fans in attendance will receive 50 percent off all food and soft drink purchases

The Nashville Predators Foundation is partnering with American Red Cross to host a Blood Drive at Bridgestone Arena today from 2-7 p.m. CT. Give back this holiday season by signing up for an available appointment time for the Dec. 23 Blood Drive at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=preds19.

Each donor who registers online will receive a $20 gift card to the Nashville Predators Team Store, a free Holiday Blood Drive T-shirt and a chance to win a Nashville Predators team signed hockey stick.

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.

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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