It's finally time.
A new decade has arrived, 2020 is here and the Nashville Predators are set to ring in the New Year today when the face the Dallas Stars in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl. The one-of-a-kind event marks the first time the Preds have ever played outdoors, and with more than 20,000 Predators fans expected to make the trek from Nashville alone, it's sure to be a memorable experience.
However, the Predators are also well aware that this is a potential four-point game against a divisional rival, and Nashville is simply focused on collecting points, no matter how they come.
"We'll try to enjoy it, but it's two points," Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "Right now, we are in a jam. Every point is crucial for us, so obviously we've got to treat it as the biggest game of the year."
"It makes it more fun, and it will make it more special if we can come up with a win and take more confidence from it," Preds forward Ryan Johansen said. "But that's exactly it. We know how important this game is for our clubs and how we really need these points to come our way."
Predators forward Colton Sissons, who suffered a lower-body injury on Dec. 27, has been placed on Injured Reserve and has been ruled out of the Winter Classic. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis (upper-body injury) participated in the Predators skate at the Cotton Bowl on Tuesday evening, and all healthy Preds skaters were on the ice as well.
Video: Johansen, Forsberg and Ekholm talk skating outdoors
Last Time Out:
The Predators came back from a 4-1 deficit on Saturday night in Pittsburgh, but it wasn't quite enough as the Penguins prevailed by a 6-4 final. Mikael Granlund scored twice for the Preds in the loss, while Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith also tallied for Nashville.
Captain Roman Josi continues to lead the Preds with 14 goals and 39 points, followed by Ryan Ellis with 28 points, and then Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok with 27 points apiece. Forsberg also has 14 goals on the season, Nick Bonino has 13 and Jarnkrok has 12. Pekka Rinne is 13-7-3 in net for the Predators.
Dallas won their final two games of the 2019 calendar year, including a 4-2 victory over Arizona on Sunday. Tyler Seguin leads the Stars with 32 points, followed by Alexander Radulov with 26 points and Miro Heiskanen with 22. Roope Hintz has 13 goals; Seguin and Radulov have 11 each. Ben Bishop is 13-9-3 on the season with a .926 save percentage.
Video: Rinne, Josi and Duchene preview NHL Winter Classic
The Predators are 38-41-(1)-5 all-time against the Stars, including a 13-25-(0)-3 record on the road. The Preds have earned at least a point in nine of their last 12 games versus Dallas (8-3-1), and Nashville has scored at least four goals in eight of its last 10 victories over Dallas.
Notables Versus Dallas:
Roman Josi has recorded 25 points (10g-15a) in 33 career contests versus Dallas, including a four-point game (2g-2a) on Feb. 25, 2013. Ryan Johansen has recorded three multi-point games in his last eight appearances against Dallas. He's posted 20 points (7g-13a) in 29 career games against the Stars.
Calle Jarnkrok has five points (3g-2a) in his last eight games against Dallas and 12 points (7g-5a) in 26 career meetings with the Stars. Viktor Arvidsson has tallied 12 points (5g-7a) in his last 14 contests versus Dallas.
Video: Winter Classic Pregame Podium: Peter Laviolette
When You Go:
Game time at the Cotton Bowl is set for 1 p.m. CT, but the festivities begin early on New Year's Day, including the Smashville Stampede at the Midway adjacent to the stadium. For a full list of activities and timing for today's Winter Classic, click here.
Watch & Listen:
The 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is being broadcast nationally on NBC in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada. Fans may also tune in on ESPN 102.5 The Game and the Predators radio network with Pete Weber and Hal Gill on the call. Pregame coverage on the radio side begins with Darren McFarland at 12 p.m. CT. 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 (on active during the game broadcast window).
Watch a Live Stream of the game with NBCSports.com or through NHL.TV.