PREDATORS (14-14-6) at AVALANCHE (11-18-4)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (Dish: 447/HD: 9517; 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
FISHER STAYS HOT
With his assist on Shea Weber’s third period goal on Thursday, Mike Fisher extended his point streak to eight games (5g-4a-9pts), his longest streak as a Predator, and just one game shy of tying his career best (set with the Ottawa Senators in 2007-08). The streak puts Fisher among the NHL’s Top Five goal scorers, and Top 10 point producers during the second half of March. The Peterborough, Ont., native also ranks second among League forwards in blocked shots (43) this season.
WEBER’S NORRIS PUSH
Shea Weber reached the scoresheet, played more than half the game, and recorded a game high in shots on Thursday as he continues to excel in multiple areas of the game.
- Weber scored Nashville’s fourth goal, giving the Predators captain 19 points (7g-12a) in his last 21 games. He is tied for second among NHL defensemen in goals, and among the Top 15 blueliners in points (7g-13a-20pts). Weber also ranks among the Top 10 d-men in power-play goals (3).
- The back-to-back Norris Trophy runner-up logged a season-high 30:23 on Thursday, the third time this season he’s played more than half the game. The Sicamous, B.C., native has led the team in ice time 26 times this season, and ranks third in the NHL in total minutes played (875:44).
- Weber also tied a season high and led all skaters on Thursday with seven shots on goal. He leads the team and is third among defensemen in shots (91).
- Weber also ranks among the Top 30 at the position in both hits (67) and blocked shots (64). He’s the only blueliner to rank among the Top 30 in points, hits and blocked shots among d-men while averaging more than 25 minutes per game.
- His next goal will tie him with Jason Arnott (107) for third on the franchise’s all-time list.
JOSI PRODUCING FROM THE BACK LINE TOO
In addition to playing a game-high/career-high 30:24 on Thursday against Phoenix, second-year defenseman Roman Josi put six shots on net, tying a career high, and recorded an assist. The Bern, Switzerland native has nine points (2g-7a) in the last seven games to move into the Top 25 in both points (5g-11a-16pts) and goals among defensemen. Josi has led the team in ice time in the eight games that his defensive partner She Weber has not, and his average ice time is up more than 4:30 from his rookie season (from 18:23 to 23:00).
ERAT FINDS HIS GROOVE
Martin Erat notched an assist on Thursday night, giving him eight points (1g-7a) in his last four outings to extend his team points lead (4g-17a-21pts). Erat’s current four-game point streak is his longest of the season and longest since posting points in five straight (2g-6a-8pts) from March 12-20, 2012. The Trebic, Czech Republic native has notched a team-high 15 of his 21 points this season on home ice.
Nashville’s offense has tallied at least four goals in five of its last nine outings after scoring more than four goals just five times in its first 20 games this season. Since the offense outburst started on March 12 at Dallas, the Predators goal-per-game average has risen from 2.10 to 2.50 - currently tied for 21st in the League. Nashville has been strong in the opening period, scoring 12 of their 33 goals during that nine-game span in the first period (36 percent). The Preds rank fifth in the League in first period goals this season (31).
RICH CLUNE CONTINUES TO PRODUCE
Rich Clune – claimed on waivers from Los Angeles just days before the 2012-13 season opener – continued his offensive surge with a first-period goal on Thursday. He now has seven points (3g-4a) in his last 15 games after posting three points (1g-2a) in his first 32 NHL contests in 2009-10 with Los Angeles (14gp) and from Jan. 21-Feb. 23, 2013 with Nashville (18gp). The Toronto native also dished out a game-high five hits on Thursday against Phoenix, and ranks among the League’s Top 20 in the category (96). Clune has picked up nine major penalties in 2012-13, fifth-most in the NHL.
LAST TIME OUT: Phoenix 7 at Nashville 4
- Nashville lost for the first time in four games, and failed to register a point on home ice for the first time in seven games dating back to Feb. 22 vs. Vancouver.
- The nine goals (both teams combined) scored in the first period set a franchise record (Phoenix 6, Nashville 3).
- Additionally, the teams combined for the second fastest four goals on Nashville ice, with David Legwand (9:03) and Rich Clune (9:33) responding to a pair of goals by the Coyotes (Lombardi – 7:03, Yandle – 8:26) in the span of two minutes and twenty-five seconds.
- The Predators outshot or had even number of shots as their opponent for the sixth straight game. Nashville tied a season highs in shots in a period (17 in the first) and shots in a game (38), both set the last time the team played in Colorado on Feb. 18. Sixteen of Nashville’s 18 skaters registered a shot on goal.
- The combined 11 goals at the end of 60 minutes tied a Predators season high as well, also set Feb. 18 at Colorado, 6-5 loss).
- Both David Legwand and Gabriel Bourque recorded a goal and an assist in the opening frame. It gave Bourque eight points (5g-3a) in his last nine games, and seven goals in his last 13 games. Bourque leads the team in goals (11), with seven of them coming on the road.
- Legwand now has 10 points (5g-5a) in his last 11 games. He is four goals shy of 200 for his career.
- Patric Hornqvist notched his first assist since Feb. 25 vs. Dallas. He returned to the lineup on Monday after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.
- Taylor Beck had an assist, giving him three points (1g-2a) in his last three games. He has played five career NHL games.
- Jonathon Blum recorded an assist, giving him helpers in two of the last three games.
- Barry Trotz coached his 1,100th NHL game, all with Nashville. He ranks third all-time in games coached, and wins (517) with a single franchise.
- The Predators power play has gone 10-for-33 in the last 11 games (30.3 percent) to rise into a tie for 11th in the power-play rankings (18.9 percent).
- Nashville is allowing an average of 26.6 shots against this season, fifth fewest in the League.
- Nashville has scored the fifth most first-period goals (tie, 31). It has also found the back of the net in the third frame in 12 of the last 13 games, amassing 16 goals in that span.
- Kevin Klein has three points (1g-2a) in his last four games.
- Bobby Butler has four assists/points in his last five games he’s dressed after being held scoreless in his first five games in a Preds sweater.
- Matt Halischuk has been a scratch the past two games, but has five points (2g-3a) in seven games since returning from a Conditioning Assignment with Milwaukee (AHL).
- Nick Spaling has scored four of his six goals this season on the road.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. COLORADO
The Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche hook up for their second matinee game this season on Saturday afternoon at the Pepsi Center. The last time the Predators made the trip to Denver for a 1 p.m. local time start on Presidents Day (Feb. 18). Two early goals were too much to overcome for the visitors that day, as Nashville fell for the first time in 10 games dating back to Jan. 22, 2010. The Predators went 9-0-0 between the losses, outscoring Colorado 39-17 in that span. The Preds are also 4-1-0 in their last five trips to Colorado.
In the Feb. 18 game, Nashville put a season-high 38 shots on goal, including 17 in the final frame. Patric Hornqvist – playing in his first game since missing 10 with a lower-body injury – put 12 shots on net, tied for the highest total in the League this season, with a franchise-record eight coming in the final frame. Sergei Kostitsyn, Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher, Jonathon Blum and Shea Weber each had had a goal and an assist in the loss.
Martin Erat has 12 points (5g-7a) in his last eight games against the Avs… Hornqvist has 14 points (7g-7a) in 14 career games against Colorado… Matt Halischuk has seven points (3g-4a) in nine career games vs. Colorado… Weber has 12 points (4g-8a) in his last 13 games against Colorado… Kostitsyn has seven points (4g-3a) in nine games against the Avs… Pekka Rinne is 10-3-0 all-time against the Avs… The Predators claimed Brandon Yip on waivers from Colorado on Jan. 19, 2012. Selected 239th overall (eighth round) by the Avs in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Yip played 113 regular-season games with Colorado from 2009-12, recording 41 points (23g-18a). He also had four points (2g-2a) in six playoff games in 2010. He has two goals in two career games against the Avalanche.
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