In what could be called a dress rehearsal for their first-round matchup in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Predators and Hurricanes will square off one more time in tonight's regular-season finale.
Nashville (30-23-2) topped Carolina, 3-1, on Saturday night and clinched their seventh consecutive postseason berth. The Predators' dramatic turnaround this season took them from 10 points out of playoff positioning two months ago to punching their playoff ticket a few nights before the end of the regular season. As a result, the Preds are likely to rest several players in advance of Nashville and Carolina facing each other in the upcoming playoffs.
The following players are expected to be out of the lineup for the Preds: Alexandre Carrier, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Mikael Granlund, Ben Harpur, Erik Haula, Calle Jarnkrok, Roman Josi, Luke Kunin, Juuse Saros and Colton Sissons. Additionally, the Preds have activated forward Mathieu Olivier from Injured Reserve. They've recalled forwards Michael McCarron and Rem Pitlick, defenseman Tyler Lewington and goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo from the taxi squad.
The Hurricanes (36-11-8) still have a shot at the Presidents' Trophy and the NHL's top regular-season record, but they have lost control of their own destiny for the title to the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Preds held a full morning skate on Monday at Bridgestone Arena. Below is their projected lineup:
Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Eeli Tolvanen
Rem Pitlick - Matt Duchene - Rocco Grimaldi
Nick Cousins - Brad Richardson - Mathieu Olivier
Yakov Trenin - Michael McCarron - Tanner Jeannot
Erik Gudbranson - Matt Benning
Jeremy Davies - Dante Fabbro
David Farrance - Tyler Lewington