After setting a franchise record with points in 15 consecutive games (14-0-1), the Nashville Predators will try to make it 16 when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Bridgestone Arena tonight. It's the second and final meeting between the two this season; Nashville fell 3-2 in a shootout in Toronto back in February.
Monday's victory in Buffalo was another record-setting night for the Preds and goaltender Pekka Rinne. Not only did the team continue their winning ways, but the netminder posted his League-leading eighth shutout of the season while collecting his 40th victory of the campaign to become just the seventh goaltender in NHL history to record three 40-win seasons.
With a clean sweep through Arizona, Colorado and western New York on their recent road trip, the Preds return home to face a Toronto team that sits in a playoff spot in the East and ranks fourth in the League in goals scored with 239 on the season. And although breaking records is nice, chances are the pregame speech won't mention the chance for a 16-game point streak.
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"What we talked about today is Toronto and how good they're playing and how we better be ready to play," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said after Wednesday's practice. "If we want to keep moving toward… trying to secure as many rounds of home ice as we can, then we have to be ready to play. This is a young, fast, skilled team, so that's what draws our attention, not something that may have happened to a player or to a franchise or to a team. All those things are just happening and we try to focus just on what we can control which is the way we play [tonight] against Toronto."
Video: Rinne earns 40th win with shutout against Sabres
Last Time Out:
Pekka Rinne made 35 saves and Mike Fisher scored the first and only goal Nashville needed for a 4-0 victory over the Sabres. Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Hartman also tallied before the night was out as the Predators extended their road point streak to 15 consecutive games, having lost just once in regulation away from home in 2018.
Viktor Arvidsson leads the Predators with 26 goals and 55 points, followed by Forsberg with 53 points and P.K. Subban with 51. Kevin Fiala has 23 goals on the season; Forsberg and Craig Smith have 21 goals apiece.
The Maple Leafs took a four-game winning streak into Tuesday's contest in Tampa Bay, but Toronto lost a three-goal lead, and eventually the game, by a 4-3 final. Mitch Marner leads the Leafs in scoring with 61 points, followed by William Nylander with 52 points and then Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri with 50 points apiece. James van Riemsdyk has 33 goals on the season, while Kadri and Matthews have 28 each, the latter of whom is expected to return to the lineup tonight from injury. Frederik Andersen is 33-19-5 in net for the Leafs; Curtis McElhinney has gone 10-4-1.
Video: Josi, Hartnell and Mason talk Preds hosting Leafs
The Predators are 11-8-(1)-2 all-time against the Maple Leafs, including a 4-3-(0)-1 record at Bridgestone Arena. Overall, the Predators have earned at least a point in six of their last eight games (4-2-2) against the Maple Leafs, and at home, Nashville has picked up a point in two of its last three contests vs. Toronto (1-1-1).
Notables Versus Toronto:
In 27 career games against Toronto, Kyle Turris has 21 points (10g-11a), including two three-point performances. Ryan Johansen has averaged a point per game versus Toronto in his career, tallying 12 points (6g-6a) in 12 games, while P.K. Subban has 19 points (4g-15a) in 32 career meetings with his hometown team.
Video: Preds begin final 10 games with difficult matchup
When You Go:
Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT ahead of tonight's 7 p.m. puck drop. The first 5,000 fans ages 12 and under will receive a GNASH shirsey presented by UnitedHealthcare.
The Nashville Predators Foundation is hosting a Soles4Souls shoe drive with fans encouraged to bring pairs of shoes for donation to the Foundation corner located outside of Section 106 on the main concourse. A number of special guests are also scheduled to be in Smashville tonight. Olympic Gold Medalists and USA Hockey stars Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux will be in attendance, as well as WWE stars Rusev and Lana also paying a visit .
Watch & Listen:
Tonight's game from Nashville comes with a 7 p.m. CT start time with Predators Live Pregame beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Tennessee. The game can also be heard on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network. Plus, follow @PredsNHL on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat for updates from Bridgestone Arena.
Video: Laviolette previews key matchup with Leafs vs. Preds
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