Two weeks and a day after the Predators reported to Nashville for training camp, the final game of the 2019 preseason slate has arrived.
The Preds are in Raleigh, North Carolina, tonight to face the Carolina Hurricanes in the final dress rehearsal before the real thing arrives on Oct. 3. This evening's 6:30 p.m. CT puck drop at PNC Arena provides a chance for the Predators to finish the preseason with a 5-1-0 record, as well as a final opportunity to make one more impression on the coaching staff and management.
Nashville currently possesses 26 players on the roster, and barring injuries, they must be down to 23 on Oct. 1. Therefore, tonight is crucial for those on the bubble vying to stay in the NHL to start the 2019-20 season.
"There's a lot of conversations that will go on between [General Manager] David Poile and myself and the coaching staff," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said Wednesday. "We've got guys that have played really well to this point, and that's a positive. We've had guys play really well that we sent to Milwaukee, and that's a positive as well. So, we'll work through it and we'll find the right mix."
The Predators defeated these same Hurricanes on Wednesday night in Nashville, with Pekka Rinne making 32 saves on his way to a 3-0 shutout.
Nashville's lone blemish in the preseason came last Friday night in Tampa Bay, a 3-1 loss that left the Predators disappointed, but still largely pleased with their overall effort.
The Preds began the preseason with 6-3 and 1-0 wins over Florida to sweep the annual doubleheader between the two teams. Nashville then topped Tampa Bay in a dramatic 5-4 overtime win before topping the Hurricanes on Wednesday.
Update: The Predators have recalled forwards Rem Pitlick, Anthony Richard, Eeli Tolvanen, Yakov Trenin and Josh Wilkins; defensemen Alexandre Carrier and Jeremy Davies; and goaltender Ken Appleby from Milwaukee (AHL) ahead of tonight's game in Carolina.
Video: Ekholm nets two in Predators' 3-0 win vs. Hurricanes
Last Time Out:
Craig Smith scored what proved to be the game-winner, and Mattias Ekholm tallied twice in the third period to lead the Preds past the Canes. Smith's goal came on the power play to mark the third consecutive game Nashville has scored with the man advantage.
Tonight marks Carolina's penultimate preseason contest, and yesterday, they cut their roster down to 29 players. The Hurricanes have dropped their last two outings after starting the preseason with two wins over Tampa Bay.
Watch & Listen:
Tonight's game begins at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be streamed locally (within the Predators television viewing area) on NashvillePredators.com. It may also be heard on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network with Pete Weber and Hal Gill on the call - with the pregame show beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT.