|4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT, November 1, 2018
Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida Attendance: 19,092
Predators, Lightning ready for showdown
Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning
- The Predators' 9-3-0 (.750) record is tied for their best start in franchise history. They are also 5-0-0 on the road for the first time ever. Nashville and Toronto (also 5-0-0) are the only remaining undefeated teams on the road.
- The Lightning beat New Jersey, 8-3, the second time they have scored at least eight goals this season. Only four other teams have had a single game with at least eight goals this season.
- Nashville has a +17 goal differential at even strength this season, best in the NHL. Tampa Bay has a +9 goal differential on the power play, best in the NHL.
- P.K Subban has recorded four assists over the last three games after having four in the first nine. Nashville's 27 assists from defensemen trail only Chicago (29) for most in the NHL.
- Brayden Point had a goal and four assists in the Lightning's win over the Devils. He is the second player to record five points in a game this season (along with Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek) and the seventh to have four assists.
- The Lightning are averaging 3.6 goals this season, third in the NHL. Nashville is allowing 2.4 goals per game, tied for third best in the NHL.
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TAMPA, Fla. -- An early season battle of league titans takes place on Thursday when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Nashville Predators.
Tampa Bay and Nashville each enter the season with Stanley Cup aspirations. Both sit atop their divisions through the first month of action.
The Lightning ended October with a record of 8-2-1 and hold a plus-11 goal differential while sitting on top of the Atlantic. The Predators start November with a 9-3 record, plus-13 goal differential and a perfect 5-0 record on the road while leading the Central.
Nashville received a boost on Wednesday when reigning Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Pekka Rinne was activated off injured reserve and joined the team for the trip to Tampa. Rinne has missed five games since colliding with teammate Kevin Fiala during a game on Oct. 15. The Predators did not practice before leaving town, so there was no indication whether Rinne would start the game against the Lightning.
Backup Juuse Saros has been handling the load in Rinne's absence, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.62 goal against average and .917 save percentage while starting all five games, including Tuesday's 4-1 victory against Vegas.
"He's carrying this team," Rinne recently told The Tennessean. "He's playing great hockey. He's been doing an amazing job. First of all, we have a good tandem and a good relationship. It starts from there.
"At the same time, I feel really good when there's bumps and bruises, you can take your time to heal."
The Lightning, meanwhile, have picked up points in eight of the past nine games and come off an 8-3 trouncing of the New Jersey Devils as five different players recorded at least three points, led by Brayden Point who had a goal and four assists.
"Pointer just controls the game with his speed. He's all over the ice," defenseman Braydon Coburn said. "He's got the puck. He supports the puck. He's on top of guys. He's so tight defensively, and I think it frustrates offensive guys. When he gets the puck, he's gone. He's gone. He takes advantage offensively. He uses his speed to make space and chances for himself and his teammates."
Tampa Bay continues to be without the services of Norris Trophy defenseman Victor Hedman, who will miss his third consecutive game with an undisclosed upper-body injury suffered on Oct. 26. But in his absence, the Lightning defense have chipped in on the offense. In Tuesday's victory against New Jersey, Ryan McDonagh and Coburn combined for three goals and six points, with Coburn adding his second career multi-goal game and first since Oct. 31, 2009.
"We see his skill in practice and in the games all the time, so I don't think we are too surprised to see him put the puck in the net," Point said of Coburn.
Updated October 31, 2018