OILERS (8-9-5) AT PREDATORS (9-9-5)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (Dish: 448/HD: 9518; Direct TV: 644/HD: 644-1 ; Comcast Nashville 1675; Comcast Chattanooga/Cleveland/Knoxville 401; Comcast Memphis 830; Charter Nashville 33/810; AT&T Nashville 724/1724)
Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. EDMONTON
The Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers hook up for their first of three games in an 18-day span on Friday night at Bridgestone Arena. A season ago, the Oilers took three of four games from the Preds, with Nashville’s lone win in the season series being by a 2-1 score on Nov. 28, 2011 at Rexall Place thanks to a Nick Spaling goal at 12:21 of the third period. Despite last season’s results, Nashville is 17-6-1 against Edmonton since 2006-07.
Shea Weber led all Predators in scoring against Edmonton a season ago with three points (1g-2a) in four games. Weber’s .74 points per game against Edmonton for his career (8g-9a-17pts, 23gp) is second only to Columbus (.83)… David Legwand was the only Predators player to score multiple goals against the Oilers a season ago (2). He has seen more offensive success against Edmonton than any other non-divisional opponent (13g-20a-33pts, 44gp)… Patric Hornqvist has posted 10 points (6g-4a) in 13 career games vs. the Oilers… Sergei Kostitsyn has five points (2g-3a) in nine career games vs. the Oil… Martin Erat notched his first career hat trick, a natural hat trick, at Rexall Place on March 4, 2008, the second road hat trick in franchise history… The Oilers are one of four teams Chris Mason has a sub-2.00 goals-against average against. For his career, he is 5-1-2 with a 1.84 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage.
A NEW TEAM GOALS LEADER: GABRIEL BOURQUE
For the second time this season – and the second time in his career – sophomore forward Gabriel Bourque has goals in back-to-back games to take sole possession of the team’s goal-scoring lead (6). The Rimouski, Que., native recorded his first career shorthanded goal – also Nashville’s first man-down goal of the season – on Saturday at San Jose, and is the only Pred with multiple game-winning goals in 2012-13 (2). Bourque is averaging 15:20 in ice time, up nearly three minutes from his rookie average (12:47). During the Predators 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinal win over Detroit, he set franchise records for points (3g-1a-4pts) and plus-minus rating (+5) by a rookie in a playoff series which included two goals, including the game winner, in his NHL playoff debut – Game One of the WCQ vs. Detroit – becoming the third player in the last 14 playoff years to attain the feat.
WEBER HEATS UP
Shea Weber has gotten rolling offensively of late, posting eight points (3g-5a) in his last 10 games to move into a tie for third on the team in points (3g-6a). After posting a team-high 25:07 on Monday at Los Angeles, Weber has led the Preds in ice time in 19-of-23 games this season, has logged more than 25 minutes on 17 occasions, and ranks ninth in the League in average ice time (25:54). He also dished out a team-high five hits on Monday, and now ranks among the defensive leaders in the category (51).
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 1 at Los Angeles 5
The Predators and Kings combined for the second fewest combined shots in franchise history (35; NSH 19, L.A. 16). The franchise record was set 10 years ago to the day when Nashville outshot St. Louis 19-12 on March 4, 2003 in a 2-1 loss at Scottrade Center. The 16 shots were the fewest by a Predators opponent since they held the Buffalo Sabres to 14 shots on Dec. 3, 2011… Martin Erat recorded an assist on Gabriel Bourque’s goal… The Predators doubled-up Los Angeles in the blocked shots category, 14-7. The Predators are among the NHL’s Top 10 in blocked shots (360), and have three players ranked among the League leaders in the category – Kevin Klein (47), Shea Weber (43) and Scott Hannan (42). Mike Fisher is second among all NHL forwards in blocked shots with 30… Ryan Ellis played a season high 19:46… Jeff Carter recorded the 30th hat trick against the Predators.
PREDS CLAIM A PAIR
Butler has posted a goal and an assist in 14 games with the Devils in 2012-13 after starting the season with their AHL affiliate in Albany, amassing 27 points (16g-11a) in 37 games and being named to the AHL All-Star Classic for the second time, where he was game MVP. The Marlborough, Mass., native has appeared in 108 NHL contests with Ottawa and New Jersey since signing with the Senators on March 29, 2010, collecting 39 points (17g-22a). Butler was also an AHL Calder Cup champion with the Binghamton Senators in 2010-11. The 6-0, 180-pound right wing spent four seasons at the University of New Hampshire from 2006-10, putting up 121 points (61g-60a) in 153 games. He was a First-Team All American and Hobey Baker “Hat Trick” Finalist as a senior after finishing second in the NCAA with 53 points (29g-24a).
Boychuk has been held scoreless in eight NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes in 2012-13. In 80 career NHL contests since 2008-09, the Airdrie, Alta., native has 18 points (7g-11a) in 80 career contests with Pittsburgh and Carolina. Boychuk started the 2012-13 season with Carolina’s primary developmental affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, amassing 32 points (16g-16a) in 37 games. Drafted by the Hurricanes in the first round (14th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Boychuk was a member of back-to-back Canadian World Junior Championship-winning teams in 2008 and 2009. He was teammates with current Predator forward Matt Halischuk on the 2008 team, and Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis on the 2009 team.
TEAM QUICK HITS
The Predators are 8-1-4 when scoring more than one goal…Nashville has allowed two goals or fewer in 13 of its 23 games this season. The Preds rank fifth in the league in team goals-against average (2.39)… Nashville is leading the league in fewest penalty minutes per game this season (10.0). The Preds led the League in the category in 2011-12 (8.4) and 2009-10 (8.7), and ranked second in 2010-11 (8.8)… The Predators have gone to overtime or a shootout in 10 of their first 23 games in 2012-13, tied for the most in the NHL. Nashville is 5-5 in those 10 games, with four being settled in overtime (3-1 record) and six going to a shootout (2-4). Last season, Nashville needed extra time on 16 occasions in 82 games, tied for the third fewest in the NHL. The Preds didn’t go beyond 60 minutes for the 10th time in 2011-12 until game No. 43 on Jan. 12, 2012 vs. Colorado.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
Colin Wilson has posted 14 points (4g-10a) in his last 16 games, including being in on 15 of the last 34 Predator goals (45.5 percent). He is one point shy of becoming the 24th player in franchise history – and 11th Preds draft pick – to reach the century mark in points for the club. Wilson has nine points (4g-5a) in 10 home games this season… Paul Gaustad has the top face-off winning percentage in the League (63.8 percent). He ranked sixth in face-off efficiency (57.3%) in 2011-12, his third consecutive season ranking among the League’s Top 10 in the category (third, 59.8 percent in 2010-11 and sixth, 57.4 percent in 2009-10)… Craig Smith has four points (3g-1a) in his last eight games after recording one point/assist in his first 15 games of 2012-13… Patric Hornqvist has six points (4g-2a) in five home games this season... Rich Clune has assists in two of his last four games, equaling his assist total from his first 32 NHL games. He has finished with an even or plus rating in all but two of his 36 career NHL games, and is among the League’s Top 25 in hits (61)... Roman Josi has led the team in the four games that Weber has not, and his 2012-13 average ice time is up more than four minutes from his rookie season (from 18:23 to 22:27).
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