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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 7, 2019
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario  Attendance: 19,059

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Nashville Predators at Toronto Maple Leafs

  1. This will be the first meeting of the season between these teams. Toronto has won four straight over Nashville by a combined score of 16-7, dating back to November 2016. That +9 goal differential is Toronto's best mark versus any Western Conference team over that span.
  2. The Maple Leafs are coming off a 5-0 victory over the Canucks on Saturday, their NHL-leading sixth win by at least five goals this season. Their opponent today, the Predators, along with 10 other teams in the NHL, have no five-goal wins this season.
  3. Despite losing one of their three games played in January, the Predators goal differential since 2019 began is +6 -- that ranks second in the NHL behind only the Penguins (+7).
  4. Michael Hutchinson earned the first star against the Canucks on Saturday, posting a shutout in just his second game in goal for the Maple Leafs. It was his fourth career shutout, and his first since October 28, 2016.
  5. Auston Matthews scored his 20th goal and had his 18th and 19th assists of the season on Saturday, his 27th game of the season. The fastest player in the NHL this season to get to 20 goals and 20 assists was Nathan MacKinnon, who reached those totals in his 30th player game of the season.
  6. Craig Smith scored two of the Predators' four goals on Saturday, and now has four goals already in January -- he had no more than four goals in any other month this season. It is Smith's first time scoring a goal in three consecutive games since the 2015-16 season.

The Nashville Predators and the Toronto Maple Leafs had the right answers Saturday night.

Both were coming off losses, and both responded with emphatic victories: the Maple Leafs defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-0 and the Predators beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.

Now, the two teams will meet Monday night in Toronto, each coming off a win, each hoping to build momentum in the second half of the season.

The Predators (25-15-3) lost 4-3 in overtime to the Red Wings in Detroit Friday night, an effort coach Peter Laviolette termed "awful."

They came right back the next night to win, led by two goals from Craig Smith, and Laviolette was delighted.

"We were strong from start to finish," Laviolette said. "We were competitive on pucks and detailed to our game. A lot of credit really goes to the players, just for making sure we're ready to play."

"This is one of our best road games of the year, for sure," Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "We played a simple game, got the first goal, got the second one, and even when they got one back, we responded right away. That was just a really solid effort from everyone."

The Maple Leafs (27-12-2), meanwhile, had lost their two previous games, both at home. They lost 4-0 to the New York Islanders in a lethargic effort and followed that by surrendering a 2-0 lead in losing 4-3 to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

"I just thought we played pretty well," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we worked and tracked and played hard in the O-zone. We had most guys going. I thought that was really positive. When we put our work in front of our skill we've got a chance to have success."

Auston Matthews ended a five-game goal drought with one goal Saturday and added two assists. Trevor Moore scored his first career NHL goal. Michael Hutchinson earned his fourth career shutout in his first win in two starts as a Maple Leaf. He was obtained in a Dec. 29 trade with the Florida Panthers.

Hutchinson was playing because of injuries to Frederik Andersen (groin) and Garret Sparks (concussion). Andersen is progressing well and could be ready to return soon. Babcock said on Sunday that Hutchinson will start Monday.

"I thought he was good," Babcock said. "I didn't think they had a ton (of scoring chances) but he didn't make any of their chances into two or three chances and just played solid. He was steady. I think they had three power plays if I'm not mistaken and, so, he obviously had some action at that time and did a good job."

Maple Leafs left winger Zach Hyman (sprained ankle) practiced with the team Sunday but is not expected to play Monday when they two teams meet in Toronto.

Juuse Saros started in goal Saturday for the Predators, which means that Pekka Rinne should start Monday at the Scotiabank Arena.

The Predators will be trying to keep the good feelings from Saturday going into Monday.

"It feels like every time we get challenged by a coach or ourselves, or we feel like we don't play as good as we can, the next game is usually a strong one," Ekholm said. "(Saturday) was really strong for us, but it's just one game. We have a long road trip to go, so it's nice to get this one, but we have to refocus."

Smith has points in five consecutive games -- four goals, two assists. P.K. Subban had two assists Saturday and has 300 in his NHL career.

Predators center Colton Sissons returned to the lineup Saturday after missing six games with a lower-body injury and logged 14:29 of ice time. Right winger Mikka Salomaki did not play and is day to day with an upper-body injury. He was injured in the game Friday.

Monday's game will be the third of Nashville's six-game trip.

Updated January 6, 2019

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