The final day of the regular season is here for the Nashville Predators as they visit Winnipeg to challenge the Jets (tonight at 6 p.m. CT).
While tonight's contest won't impact who gets into the playoffs - all eight Western Conference spots are locked - it will help determine who the Preds will face in Round One, with the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks being the most likely candidates.
If the St. Louis Blues pick up at least a point in their game at Carolina (6 p.m.), the Preds will get either the First or Second Wild Card; with the Calgary Flames holding the tie breaker over Nashville (and both teams at 94 points and 81 games played) the Preds will need to finish ahead of the Flames in the standings to get the top Wild Card. Calgary is at the Shark Tank tonight (at 9 p.m.).
As for tonight's game, Nashville (41-28-12) leads the season series with the Jets (39-35-7), winning two out of three meetings. Winnipeg has won six consecutive games overall.
Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette announced on Saturday morning that Pekka Rinne will start in net tonight for the Predators, but may give Juuse Saros some work as well, depending on how the game plays out.
"We're going to give him some work," Laviolette said of Rinne. "I'm going to keep an eye on the game, realizing that the most important thing is next week. I think we've done a pretty good job [of getting guys into the lineup]. Last game was a perfect example, [Juuse Saros] got a game, Pekka took the game before that, [Brad] Hunt gets in there, [Miikka] Salomaki got another game, so there's just guys getting in there and getting work. As we move forward here, its anther opportunity for guys to get their game straight, including the goaltenders. Juuse gets last game, Peks will start tonight and we'll see how it goes over the course of the game. Peks needs some work, too, if you just look at the amount of time from when he played last moving forward. We'll just watch the game and see, but he'll start there."
Nashville held an optional morning skate on Saturday, with Mike Fisher, Yannick Weber and Ryan Ellis taking part. The below lineup is based on the one the Preds used on Thursday:
Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - James Neal
Viktor Arvidsson - Calle Jarnkrok - Craig Smith
Kevin Fiala - Colton Sissons - PA Parenteau
Miikka Salomaki - Austin Watson - Harry Zolnierczyk
Roman Josi - Matt Irwin
Mattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban
Anthony Bitetto - Brad Hunt