The final extended road trip of the 2019-20 season has arrived for the Nashville Predators, and it begins tonight in Montreal against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. It's the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season; the Preds will host the Habs to start the month of April.
The Predators put an end to a three-game skid by shutting out the Dallas Stars last Thursday by a 2-0 score, and they blanked the Stars again on Saturday, this time with a 1-0 count. Preds netminder Juuse Saros was perfect in those two outings, posting back to back shutouts for the first time in his career.
Now, the Preds will try for another win streak to start the trip as they continue to battle for a spot in the postseason.
"Saros has been excellent… and then it's just more of the same with our team," Preds Head Coach John Hynes said. "I think we've been able to stick with it. We've played in some close games and tight games and found ways to win. Special teams have been big factors in the game, so it's nice that we came up on the winning side of those battles."
The Predators practiced in Nashville on Monday morning before jetting off to Montreal, and with the exception of absences from Mikael Granlund and Calle Jarnkrok, lines and pairings remained unchanged.
Video: Saros, Preds shut out Stars in second of back-to-back
Last Time Out:
Ryan Ellis scored on the power play and Saros made 37 saves to earn a second-straight shutout for the first time in his career. The Predators have won two-straight and will try to extend their win streak to three games for just the fourth time this season.
Preds Captain Roman Josi paces the club with 63 points, followed by Filip Forsberg with 45 points and Matt Duchene with 42. Forsberg has 19 goals on the season, while Nick Bonino and Craig Smith have 18 apiece. Defenseman Ryan Ellis is fourth on the club in scoring with 37 points in just 48 games.
Montreal dropped a pair of games in Florida last week, including a 4-1 loss to the Panthers on Saturday. Tomas Tatar leads the team with 22 goals and 61 points, followed by Phillip Danault with 47 points and Max Domi with 44 points. Brendan Gallagher also has 22 goals on the season, and Domi has 17. Carey Price is 27-24-6 in net for the Habs through 57 starts.
The Predators are 13-6-(1)-6 all-time against the Canadiens, including a 6-5-(0)-2 record at Bell Centre. Nashville has picked up at least a point in 14 of its last 15 meetings with Montreal (10-1-4) and has only lost twice in regulation since Jan. 15, 2009.
In 15 contests since the 2009-10 season, Nashville has limited Montreal to an average of 1.53 goals per game, including 14 games in which the Preds have given up two or fewer goals. The Preds have earned a point in six of their last seven games at Bell Centre (5-1-1).
Notables Versus Montreal:
Mikael Granlund is on a personal eight-game point streak vs. Montreal, tallying three goals and 13 points. He has 15 points (3g-12a) in 12 career games against the Canadiens, including five multi-point outings.
Matt Duchene has 14 points (3g-11a) in 18 career meetings with Montreal, and Craig Smith has four points (2g-2a) in his last four games vs. Montreal, including a two-goal performance on Jan. 5, 2019.
Pekka Rinne is 9-2-2 vs. in 13 career starts versus the Habs. His 1.42 goals-against average and .953 save percentage against Montreal both are his career best against a single opponent.
Watch & Listen:
Coverage for tonight's contest from Quebec begins with Predators Live on Fox Sports Tennessee at 5:30 p.m. Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Lyndsay Rowley 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 5 p.m. 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