It's time to begin, isn't it?
Finally, after six preseason games and more than two weeks of training camp, the 2019-20 NHL season has officially arrived in Nashville, and it begins tonight at Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators will host the Minnesota Wild this evening to begin the campaign, a contest that kicks off a four-game homestand over the next week.
[Read More: Preds Projected Lineup vs. Wild]
[Read More: Opening Night Always Special for Rinne, Preds]
Nashville submitted their 22-man roster to the League on Tuesday, with forwards Matt Duchene and Daniel Carr serving as the only two new faces who didn't see time with the Preds last season.
Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said Tuesday he believes his club will be completely healthy for Opening Night, and that includes two top lines with a new look.
Over the past few days, Ryan Johansen has centered Craig Smith and Viktor Arvidsson, while Duchene has been between Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund. Those fresh units figure to provide a challenge for opposing teams when choosing matchups, especially at home where Nashville receives the final change.
"I really like the balance of our lines right now," Laviolette said. "We're healthy, we're in good shape, and knock on wood that remains the same, but I think all lines are capable of scoring. They're all a little bit different, and certainly a lot of potential for our guys to be creative and do what they need to do on the ice.
"But everybody has good players. I looked at Minnesota's lineup and their possible lines coming in here, and they look really good. Everybody's got good players and we have to make sure that we're ready to play."
Video: Josi, Duchene, Rinne talk Opening Night
Last Time Out:
The Predators finished their exhibition schedule with a 2-1 overtime win at Carolina on Friday night. Ryan Johansen scored the winner in the extra session to give Nashville a 5-1-0 preseason record. Goaltender Juuse Saros made 30 saves to earn the win.
Minnesota finished the preseason with a 2-1-3 record, including a 5-4 overtime loss to Winnipeg on Sunday. Former Predators wingers Kevin Fiala and Ryan Hartman will return to Bridgestone Arena tonight as the Wild try to end a five-game losing streak against the Predators.
The Predators are 37-25-(5)-8 all-time against the Wild, including a 22-9-(2)-4 record at Bridgestone Arena. At home, Nashville has won five consecutive games over Minnesota, holding them to a goal-or-fewer in three of those contests. Last season, the Preds swept their regular-season series against the Wild, going 4-0-0.
Video: Coach Laviolette talks Opening Night
Notables Versus Minnesota:
Ryan Johansen has 18 points (5g-13a) in 26 career games versus the Wild, including eight points (3g-5a) in his last nine meetings. Matt Duchene has recorded 21 points (7g-14a) in 43 career games against the Wild.
Pekka Rinne has shut out the Wild four times in his career, tied for the second-most he's recorded against an NHL team (with St. Louis, Dallas and Edmonton) behind Arizona (6).
When You Go:
The Predators annual Opening Night Gold Walk, presented by Nissan, begins at 3:30 p.m. CT on the Bridgestone Arena plaza. Preds players, coaches and broadcasters will walk the carpet, and following the Gold Walk, be sure to join in on the first Plaza Party of 2019. Doors to Bridgestone Arena will open following the Gold Walk.
As the first of many giveaways in the "Year of the Fan," every fan in attendance this evening will receive an LED bracelet and 2018-19 Central Division Champions mini banner.
Please note the updated Bridgestone Arena bag policy for the Predators' 2019-20 season:
The fastest way to enter Bridgestone Arena is to not bring a bag at all. However, clear, clutch or no bags grant guests access to our Express Lanes. Bags that are made of solid material that fit within the 12-inch-by-12-inch-by-6-inch size requirement will be placed through an X-ray scanner upon entry. Backpacks and large bags are prohibited from Bridgestone Arena. All clear bags must be completely clear and may not have any color tinting, printed designs or panels of fabric. All items brought are subject to a security search. Diaper bags that fit within the guidelines of the approved bags will be permitted.
To enhance the Nashville Predators gameday experience, Bridgestone Arena has implemented Ticketmaster SafeTix, a new technology designed to provide the best possible entry experience and cut down on the number of fraudulent tickets in the marketplace. Using encrypted, rotating barcodes, SafeTix prevents fraud and ticket scalping through screenshotting and/or photocopying barcodes. Screenshots will no longer be valid for entry to Predators home games. The Predators also encourage all fans to be aware of the new "Clutch, Clear or No Bag" policy and to utilize Express Entry Lanes for expedited entry.
Watch & Listen:
Tonight's game is being broadcast nationally on NBCSN. 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 6 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.