Start Time: 6 pm CT (radio pregame starts at 5 pm CT)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (DirecTV 644 SD, 644-1 HD; Dish 449 SD, 9519 HD; Comcast Nashville 1675; Comcast Chattanooga/Cleveland/Knoxville 401; Comcast Memphis 830)
Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game; Network Affiliates
Away Game Viewing Headquarters: Visit any Middle Tennessee O’Charley’s location to watch all Preds road games
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. DALLAS
The Predators make their final trip of the 2011-12 season to the Lone Star State tonight to take on the Stars at American Airlines Center. The Predators are 4-7-0 in Dallas’ barn since 2006-07 and are 6-18-1 in Dallas all-time.
These teams last met in Nashville on Jan. 5, with the Preds and Stars trading goals early in the first, as Gabriel Bourque
potted his first NHL goal at the 8:31 mark. Dallas went on to score three unanswered goals to take home the 4-1 victory in the Music City. In the Preds last trip to the “Big D” on Dec. 23, the Stars jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period before Matt Halischuk
and Martin Erat
pulled the Predators within one in the middle frame. Dallas responded with less than two minutes remaining, opening the lead back to two goals going into the third. David Legwand
netted the Predators’ second power-play goal of the game at 4:38 of the third, but the Stars scored twice secure the 6-3 victory. Anders Lindback
relieved Pekka Rinne
midway through the first, and stopped 19-of-21 shots.
has eight points (4g-4a) in eight career games against Dallas… Colin Wilson
has five points (3g-2a) in his last six games against Dallas… Mike Fisher
has nine points (5g-4a) in 15 career games against the Stars. He also took his first career penalty shot against Dallas on Dec. 5, 2001, against Marty Turco, and scored… Patric Hornqvist
fired a career-high/franchise-record 14 shots on goal on Dec. 28, 2010. He recorded his first NHL goal against Turco on Oct. 15, 2008, in his second career game.
FISHER-ERAT-KOSTITSYN LINE CONTINUES TO CLICK
The Predators’ line of Martin Erat
, Mike Fisher
and Sergei Kostitsyn
has been the driving force behind the Predators’ offense of late. Since the calendar flipped to 2012, Erat (5g-14a) and Fisher (10g-9a) have both notched 19 points in their last 20 games, which ranks them among the League leaders during that span. Erat’s 14 helpers since Jan. 1 rank him among the League’s Top 10 players. The Trebic, Czech Republic native leads the team with 42 points on the year – his eighth consecutive season with at least 40 points. In his last 98 regular season games dating back to Dec. 1, 2010, Erat has posted 86 points (28g-58a). Fisher is tied with Patric Hornqvist
for the lead the team in goals (17) in 2011-12, and his 10 since the first of the year rank among the NHL’s Top 10. For the season, the Predators are 19-2-3 when Fisher records a point and 10-0-3 when he scores a goal. Kostitsyn has notched 17 points (9g-8a) in his last 20 games. He has nine goals on his last 26 shots (34.6 percent), and ranks among the League leaders in shooting percentage (23.3 percent).
PREDATORS POST A 15-5-2 RECORD IN THEIR LAST 22 GAMES
Nashville has posted a 15-5-2 record in its last 22 games, outscoring the opposition 66-49, despite being out shot 686-618 (minus 68). In its last 22 games, it has averaged 3.00 goals per game, while allowing just 2.22 goals per game. The Predators’ current streak includes outscoring foes 54-37 at even strength. In the 36 games prior, the Predators were outscored 72-54 at even strength. Those totals have pushed Nashville’s goals per game average from 2.60 prior to the stretch to 2.74 (13th) currently, while its goals-against average has fallen from 2.80 to 2.57 (10th).
PREDS GET GILL
Defenseman Hal Gill
is expected to make his Predators debut against Dallas after being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on Friday afternoon at 36 years, 318 days old as of Sunday, he will become the second-oldest player in franchise history behind current Predators Director of Player Development Martin Gelinas (37 years, 262 days). Gill has appeared in 53 games this season for the Canadiens, posting eight points (1g-7a) and 29 penalty minutes. As one of the League’s top penalty killers, Gill currently ranks third in average shorthanded ice time per game (4:00). He has also blocked 122 shots this season, one more than previous team leader Kevin Klein
(121), and good for 14th in the League.
For his career, the Concord, Mass., native has suited up for 1,047 regular-season games (36g-143a-179pts, 940 PIMs) and 105 playoff contests (0g-6a-6pts, 68 PIMs) since 1997-98 – more than any player currently on the Predators roster. He appeared in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and 2009 with Pittsburgh, winning the Cup in 2009.
The defensive pairing of Ryan Suter
and Shea Weber
continues its all-star caliber play on the Predators’ blue line. Since returning from injury on Jan. 23, Suter has posted nine points (2g-7a) in 10 game. He ranks sixth among NHL blueliners with 34 points (7g-27a) this season, putting him on pace to surpass his career-high 45 points (7g-38a) set during the 2008-09 season. The Madison, Wis., native ranks among the League’s top five players in average ice time (26:41), and is tied for third among NHL blueliners in power-play points (3g-16a-19pts). Suter posted his seventh goal of the season last Tuesday against Chicago; he is now one marker shy of tying his career-high (8) set during 2006-07 season. That goal also moved Suter into a tie for 10th (Cliff Ronning) on the franchise’s all-time scoring list with 226 career-points (38g-188a).
On the other side, Weber has posted a plus-seven rating in his last 12 outings, and he currently ranks among the League’s Top 10 defensemen in plus/minus for the season (+18). In his last 38 games, Weber has 29 points (10g-19a), putting him second in team scoring (11g-26a-37pts). He is third among NHL defensemen in goals (11), second in power-play goals (6) and fifth in points (37). Since Oct. 25, Weber has not gone more than two games without a point.
NASHVILLE’S VEZINA CANIDATE
has posted a 15-3-2 record with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage in his last 20 decisions, improving to 31-13-6 on the season – the second-most wins in the League. He also ranks second in the League in saves (1,461), shots against (1,581) and appearances (52). Rinne recently posted a franchise record 11-game win streak from Jan. 7-Feb. 4 – matching the longest single-season winning streak by an NHL goaltender over the last 13 years.
• Nashville is 13-3-2 against the Central Division this season, tied with Vancouver, Calgary and Boston for the most intra-divisional wins. The team is also 27-15-3 against the Western Conference.
• Nashville’s power play has scored 14 man-advantage goals in its last 18 games. For the season, Nashville’s power play ranks second in the League (21.2 percent). The Preds have already matched their power-play output from a season ago, scoring 41 power-play goals through 58 games this season. Last year, the Predators posted 41 man-advantage markers in 82 contests.
• Nashville’s special teams are now plus-eight on the season after finishing plus-three in 2010-11. Nashville (103.0) ranks among the League’s Top 10 teams in combined special teams play (PP%+PK%).
• Nashville is 27-3-4 when scoring three or more goals, and 25-2-1 when holding the opposition to two or less.
• In their 33 victories this season (30 non-shootout wins), the Predators have received game-winning goals from 15 different players, tied with St. Louis for the most players with a GWG. Mike Fisher
leads the team and ranks among the NHL’s Top 10 with five game-winners. He is also one GWG shy of his career-high (six) set in 2009-10 with Ottawa. Fifteen of Nashville’s GWGs have come in the third period or overtime, with 11 coming in the final eight minutes of regulation or overtime.
• With nine 10-goal scorers, the Predators rank third in the League for the most players with at least 10 goals this season. Detroit and Philadelphia are tied for the League lead with 10 players with at least 10 goals.
• The Predators lead the League in winning percentage (.700) in one and two goal games (combined). They rank in the League’s Top 10 teams in one-goal games (15-7-6) and have posted the League’s best record (10-2) in games decided by two goals.
• The Predators are 23-2-3 when scoring first, ranking among the top five the League. They have led after one period in just 18 of 58 games (33 wins), going 15-1-2 in those contests. Nashville is also 15-4-1 when tied at the first intermission.
• Nashville has allowed just nine second-period goals in its last 22 outings. The team’s 35 goals allowed in the middle frame is the lowest total in the League.
• The Predators rank among the League’s top five in third-period scoring this season. Nashville has potted 65 goals in the final frame this season, including 15 goals in its last 12 third periods. Twenty of Nashville’s goals have come in the final 100 seconds of regulation, including three extra-attacker goals, and five more game-winners.