The first of two dress rehearsals ahead of the 2019-20 regular season comes tonight when the Nashville Predators host the Carolina Hurricanes at Bridgestone Arena at 7 p.m. CT.
It's the penultimate preseason contest for the Preds; they'll also face the Hurricanes in Raleigh on Friday night.
The Predators are 3-1-0 in the exhibition schedule thus far, including a dramatic, 5-4 overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Rem Pitlick scoring the winner less than two minutes into OT. Nashville's roster has been cut in half since then, and Pitlick, along with fellow winger Eeli Tolvanen were among those assigned to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.
Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette praised the young players on Monday, but believes the assignments are best for their development at this stage. Due to the transactions, Nashville's roster now holds 26 players, and barring injuries, three of them will not be with the club once final moves are made next week ahead of Opening Night.
"That's part of moving guys on as well is that we've got to get to our lines and our team," Laviolette said Monday. "These last two exhibition games are for our guys to be ready to play. I think it's important that we try to see more of the line combinations and pairings and just getting those reps as a team, so these games [against Carolina] are important."
Some of those line combinations have included Ryan Johansen between Viktor Arvidsson and Kyle Turris, and then Matt Duchene centering Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund.
Nashville's new-look power play also came alive on Saturday night, with the top unit comprised of Duchene, Johansen, Arvidsson, Forsberg and Roman Josi converting twice in the win.
"They moved the puck really well, and it made a difference in the game, a positive difference," Laviolette said. "That's really what you look for from your power play. It's early, it's just one game, but you look for positive signs, and there were certainly some in the game against Tampa."
Nashville's roster for tonight's game may be seen here.
Last Time Out:
The Predators staged a dramatic comeback in Saturday's 5-4 overtime win against the Lightning with Duchene tying the game with just 3.8 seconds to play in regulation. Forsberg, Arvidsson and Tolvanen also scored in regulation before Pitlick won it in overtime. Goaltender Pekka Rinne was in net for the Preds in his first game action of the preseason.
Carolina has three more games to go in the preseason including tonight's contest; they're 2-1-0 thus far. On Tuesday, the Hurricanes acquired defenseman Joel Edmundson, forward Dominik Bokk and the Blues' seventh-round selection in the 2021 NHL Draft from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for defenseman Justin Faulk and Carolina's fifth-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Carolina had 47 players remaining on their training camp roster.
When You Go:
The Bridgestone Arena plaza opens at 5 p.m. CT ahead of tonight's 7 p.m. puck drop; arena doors open to the public at 5:30 p.m. CT.
Please note the updated Bridgestone Arena bag policy for the Predators' 2019-20 season:
The fastest way to enter Bridgestone Arena is to not bring a bag at all. However, clear, clutch or no bags grant guests access to our Express Lanes. Bags that are made of solid material that fit within the 12-inch-by-12-inch-by-6-inch size requirement will be placed through an X-ray scanner upon entry. Backpacks and large bags are prohibited from Bridgestone Arena. All clear bags must be completely clear and may not have any color tinting, printed designs or panels of fabric. All items brought are subject to a security search. Diaper bags that fit within the guidelines of the approved bags will be permitted.
To enhance the Nashville Predators gameday experience, Bridgestone Arena has implemented Ticketmaster SafeTix, a new technology designed to provide the best possible entry experience and cut down on the number of fraudulent tickets in the marketplace. Using encrypted, rotating barcodes, SafeTix prevents fraud and ticket scalping through screenshotting and/or photocopying barcodes. Screenshots will no longer be valid for entry to Predators home games. The Predators also encourage all fans to be aware of the new "Clutch, Clear or No Bag" policy and to utilize Express Entry Lanes for expedited entry.
Watch & Listen:
Tonight's game may be seen on Fox Sports Tennessee with 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.