After returning from a four-game trip through Western Canada, the Nashville Predators are set to host the New York Islanders tonight at Bridgestone Arena, a game presented by Southwest. It's the final meeting between the two this season; the Preds scored eight on the Isles in an 8-3 victory on Long Island back in December.
The Preds began the aforementioned trip with a pair of wins in Winnipeg and Calgary, before dropping decisions in Edmonton and Vancouver prior to returning home on Tuesday. Tonight's contest - as is every game at this point in the season - is of great importance to the Predators, as they continue to sit outside of the playoff picture with 27 games to go.
"We need to have that consistency and that team game and that intensity," Preds forward Matt Duchene said. "We can't just lace them up and expect that to happen. We did some really good things on that road trip, it's unfortunate we came away 2-2-0, we probably deserved to be at least 3-1-0, but we can't waste time thinking about that. We have to move forward."
The Predators returned to practice on Wednesday in Nashville and were once again joined by defenseman Ryan Ellis, who remains on Injured Reserve. Preds Head Coach John Hynes said Ellis continues to make progress on his return to full health, but still isn't sure when the blueliner may return to game action.
A small tweak in the forward lines on Wednesday saw Viktor Arvidsson skate on a line with Ryan Johansen and Mikael Granlund, while Kyle Turris moved to the wing with Matt Duchene at center and Filip Forsberg on the left side.
Video: NSH Recap: Smith, Granlund score in defeat
Last Time Out:
Craig Smith and Mikael Granlund tallied for the Preds in their 6-2 loss to the Canucks on Monday. Pekka Rinne started the game - his first and only start of the trip - but he was pulled in favor of Juuse Saros after the Canucks took a 4-0 lead early in the second period.
Roman Josi continues to lead the Predators with 55 points on the season, followed by Filip Forsberg with 38 and Matt Duchene with 35. Forsberg has 18 goals to his name; Nick Bonino has 17 tallies and Josi has 14.
The Islanders have won four of their last five outings, including a 5-3 victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday night. Mathew Barzal leads the team with 48 points, followed by Brock Nelson with 45 and Josh Bailey with 37. Nelson has 21 goals on the season, Barzal has 18 and Anders Lee is tied for third in the category with Anthony Beauvillier; both have 17 tallies. Semyon Varlamov is 17-9-4 in net for the Isles; Thomas Griess is 16-7-2.
The Predators are 17-8-(0)-3 all-time against the Islanders, including a 9-4-(0)-1 record at Bridgestone Arena.
The Preds have earned at least a point in seven of their last eight meetings with New York (6-1-1), including wins in four straight. Six of the Preds' nine wins at home over the Islanders came during a winning streak that stretched from Feb. 13, 2003-Oct. 12, 2013.
Nashville scored a season-high eight goals in an 8-3 victory over New York on Dec. 17. It was the seventh time the team has scored at least eight goals in a game and first time since an 8-2 win at Toronto on Nov. 18, 2014.
Notables Versus New York:
Filip Forsberg has 11 points (6g-5a) in 11 career games against the Islanders, including points in four straight games (4g-2a). Kyle Turris is on a six-game point streak vs. the Islanders (1g-5a). He has 17 points (5g-12a) in 23 career games against New York. Craig Smith tallied three points (2g-1a) in Nashville's 8-3 win over the Isles on Dec. 17. He has 10 points (5g-5a) in 13 career games vs. New York.
When You Go:
The first 8,000 fans through the Bridgestone Arena doors tonight will receive a Ryan Johansen bobblehead, presented by Southwest Airlines. Thanks to Fifth Third Bank, all Season-Ticket Citizens and 5/3 cardholders will have an early opportunity to secure their bobblehead by entering the arena through all entrances starting at 5 p.m. CT.
Bridgestone Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT for all fans.
Tonight, the Nashville Predators Foundation empowered by SmileDirectClub will host Hockey Has Heart Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Night in support of the cardiac research and support that takes place at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Country music superstar Luke Bryan, joined by two young CHD patients, will perform the National Anthem prior to the game. When Luke and his wife, Caroline Boyer Bryan, lost their niece, Sadie Brett Boyer, to complications from CHD in 2017, they came together with Brett's parents, Ellen and Bo Boyer, to create The Brett Boyer Foundation in her honor.
To support the CHD fundraising efforts, fans are invited to stop by the Predators Foundation area (outside of Section 106/107) or the team store to purchase an adorable Preds WubbaNub pacifier (0-6 months) for $20. The WubbaNub is also available online. All proceeds will benefit CHD research and support at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Additionally, limited CHD T-shirts will be available for purchase. Donations will also be accepted.
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