|Predators may not have Arvidsson vs. Vegas|
Break time is over for the Nashville Predators.
However, it might not be over for a key member of the top line.
When Nashville ends a week off Tuesday night with a visit from the Vegas Golden Knights, it might not have the services of right winger Viktor Arvidsson.
During practice on Monday -- the first time the Predators (25-11-6) have been on the ice since a 2-1 win on Jan. 9 against Edmonton -- Arvidsson suffered an apparent lower-body injury. He needed help leaving the ice.
His status likely won't be updated until Tuesday morning at the earliest. But if Arvidsson, who is third on the team in scoring with 13 goals and 14 assists while playing in all 42 games, has to sit out, it means Nashville will be without its No. 1 and 3 point-producers.
Filip Forsberg, who has 15 goals and 34 points in 37 games, will miss his sixth game with an upper-body injury suffered Dec. 29 in Minnesota. Forsberg was able to skate near the end of practice Monday and did some stick-handling drills, so it's possible he could return immediately after the All-Star break at month's end.
Regardless of who's around and who isn't, Nashville will have a steep task against Vegas (29-10-3), the surprising leaders in the Western Conference. The Golden Knights have won both previous meetings, a 4-3 overtime decision on Dec. 8 in Bridgestone Arena and a 3-0 shutout two weeks ago in T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas is coming off a rare defeat, a 3-2 overtime setback to Edmonton on Saturday night at home. In that game, it was coming off its mandatory five-day break.
"It's easy to say your team is rested and you're ready to jump, but when you have five days from your break, it's tough to get going," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said.
That's the scenario facing the Predators in this one. But they are in good position to earn a top playoff seed with 56 points, three behind Central Division leader Winnipeg, and four games in hand.
"Now it's about taking on the second half and trying to build off that," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "I do agree there's room to move forward and improve from the work we did in the first half, but we put ourselves in a good position."
Laviolette and captain Roman Josi said after Monday's practice that the main point of emphasis for the season's final 40 games include putting more pucks on net. The Predators at their peak are a possession team that can attempt more than 70 shots in a game, but slow starts and penalty trouble have led to slippage in that department.
"We've won a lot of games, but we got outshot and our goalie stood on his head or we played really well defensively," Josi said. "One thing we take a lot of pride in as a team is to get a lot of shots to try to get a lot of time in the O-zone."
The goalie matchup is expected to be All-Stars Marc-Andre Fleury (9-2-2, 1.83 goals-against average, .942 save percentage) for Vegas and Pekka Rinne (21-8-3, 2.43 GAA, .925 save percentage) for Nashville.