The stretch run of the 2018-19 season arrives tonight as the Nashville Predators return from the All-Star Break to face the Florida Panthers (at 6 p.m. CT).
Nashville (30-18-4) last played nine days ago, a 2-1 win over the Golden Knights in Vegas. Since that contest, the Preds lost defenseman Anthony Bitetto on waivers to the Minnesota Wild, and winger Austin Watson was suspended indefinitely after being placed in Stage Two of the NHL and NHLPA's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH).
Forwards Kyle Turris, Miikka Salomaki and Zac Rinaldo all remain on Injured Reserve for Nashville. Rinaldo skated at Thursday's practice while wearing a non-contact jersey. Turris and Salomaki have not yet resumed skating with the team. The team also recalled forward Colin Blackwell on Thursday.
Florida (20-20-8) also returns from their break after last playing and winning on Jan. 21. The Panthers beat the Preds, 4-2, on Jan. 19 for win No. 2 in their current three-game winning streak.
The Predators held a full morning skate on Friday at BB&T Center. Below is a projected lineup based on the session:
Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala - Nick Bonino - Craig Smith
Ryan Hartman - Colton Sissons - Calle Jarnkrok
Colin Blackwell - Frederick Gaudreau - Rocco Grimaldi
Roman Josi - Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban
Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber
Note: The Predators have not announced a starting goaltender for tonight's game