Preview: Florida at Nashville
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 3, 2015
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Talented forward Filip Forsberg is beginning to warm up on the offensive end as his Nashville Predators prepare to host the suddenly hot Florida Panthers on Thursday. The 21-year-old Swede, who scored 26 times during his first full season in 2014-15, boasts three goals in the last three contests after going without one for 17 straight.
“It’s been frustrating, especially when we haven’t been winning,” Forsberg, who has scored five on the season, told reporters. “As long as we win it doesn’t really matter, but obviously it’s always good to help the team get a win.” The Predators are 2-1-1 since getting shut out in three consecutive contests and Florida has won three in a row since a rough stretch after a 3-1 victory at St. Louis on Tuesday. The Panthers have allowed four goals during their streak. Florida’s veteran right wing Jaromir Jagr remains one goal shy of Marcel Dionne (731) for fourth in NHL history.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Florida, FSN Tennessee (Nashville)
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (11-9-4): Center Nick Bjugstad was sent home for evaluation of his lower-body injury sustained at practice and veteran Dave Bolland took his place in the lineup Tuesday. Brandon Pirri has produced a pair of goals in the last three games for the Panthers and Jagr leads the team with 18 points – one better than Jussi Jokinen. Roberto Luongo, who owns a .926 save percentage in 35 games against Nashville, has been in net throughout the win streak and allowed two or fewer goals in the past four contests.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (13-7-4): Forsberg has posted five points in the last three games while the team’s leading scorer James Neal and Mike Ribeiro have three in the same span. Defenseman Shea Weber snapped a six-game point drought with three assists in Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over Arizona when the Predators posted four goals in the third period. Center Mike Fisher (lower body) was placed on injured reserve after leaving Tuesday’s game and versatile forward Colin Wilson (lower body) is questionable for Thursday.
1. Florida D Dmitry Kulikov, who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury, is close to returning but is likely to miss Thursday’s game.
2. Nashville G Pekka Rinne has allowed 15 goals during a 1-3-1 stretch after starting the season with points in 13 of 15 contests (10-2-3).
3. The Panthers have killed off all 12 power plays in the last four games after giving up five in the previous seven outings.
PREDICTION: Predators 4, Panthers 2