The Christmas break has concluded, and the Nashville Predators are back on the ice tonight at Bridgestone Arena as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tonight's game is the start of a home-and-home set between the 2017 Stanley Cup Finalists; the Preds will face the Pens in Pittsburgh tomorrow night.
The last few days have been a happy holiday for the Preds, as they entered the break with wins in four of their last five outings, including a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night in Nashville. That win served as the exclamation point on a four-game road trip that saw the Predators collect seven out of a possible eight points over the span of a week.
The recent span has been a boost of confidence for the Preds, and with these final two games remaining in the 2019 calendar year, they would love nothing more than to find success against the Penguins before going outdoors on New Year's Day in Dallas.
"We needed that, and it's nice to relax and take your mind off of hockey after a couple of good wins," Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne said following Monday's win. "We'll re-energize and come back, but it was huge to get those points."
With Viktor Arvidsson and Mikael Granlund back in the lineup, the Preds entered Monday's game with a healthy roster. Nashville will hold a morning skate today following the three days off.
Video: Josi leads Predators past Coyotes, 3-2
Last Time Out:
Roman Josi extended his franchise-best goal scoring streak by a defenseman on Monday when he tallied the game-winner against Arizona. Nashville's captain has goals in five-straight outings and has seven goals and two assists in his past five contests.
Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson also scored in the win, and Pekka Rinne earned his 354th career win to pass Rogie Vachon and Evgeni Nabokov for 20th-most in NHL history. His 354 career wins are the third-most by a European-born goalie, trailing only Dominik Hasek (389) and Henrik Lundqvist (457).
Josi leads the team with 14 goals and 35 points, followed by Ryan Ellis with 28 points, and then Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok, who are tied with 26 points apiece. Forsberg is also tied for the club lead with 14 goals, Nick Bonino has 13 tallies and Jarnkrok has 12.
Video: Granlund, Josi talk Preds vs. Penguins
The Penguins have only lost twice in the month of December through nine games, but that includes a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Canucks in Vancouver as they entered the holiday break. Captain Sidney Crosby continues to be out of the lineup due to injury.
Jake Guentzel paces the Pens with 18 goals and 37 points, followed by Evgeni Malkin with 31 points, and then Bryan Rust and Kris Letang with 25 points each. Rust has 13 goals on the season, and Jared McCann has 10. Tristan Jarry has taken over for Matt Murray in net for Pittsburgh with an 11-5-0 record and a .939 save percentage.
The Predators are 13-11-(2)-3 all-time against the Penguins, including an 8-4-(0)-3 record at Bridgestone Arena. Overall, the Preds have earned a point in three-straight games versus the Penguins (2-0-1) and picked up three of four available points in the 2018-19 two-game season series (1-0-1). Nashville has picked up a point in each of its last four games against Pittsburgh at Bridgestone Arena, going 2-0-2.
Video: Coach Laviolette previews Preds vs. Penguins.
Notables Versus Pittsburgh:
Kyle Turris recorded his first goal with the Predators on Nov. 11, 2017, against Pittsburgh. He has 16 points (6g-10a) in 21 career tilts against the Penguins. Filip Forsberg has seven points (7a) in his last nine games against Pittsburgh. The Penguins are one of two teams (Ottawa) Forsberg has not scored a goal on in his career.
Calle Jarnkrok has four points (3g-1a) in his past six games versus Pittsburgh, including a two-point (1g-1a) effort on Jan. 31, 2017. Ryan Johansen (4g-6a), Matt Duchene (8g-2a) and Dan Hamhuis (3g-7a) each have 10 career points against the Penguins.
When You Go:
Bridgestone Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT ahead of tonight's 7 p.m. puck drop. Stop by the Preds Foundation Area outside of Section 106 to purchase your 2020 Predators Team Calendar and to purchase or bid on other unique items.
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