AVALANCHE (12-19-4) at PREDATORS (14-14-8)
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
The Predators are playing the back end of their seventh of nine sets of back-to-backs in 2012-13 tonight after falling in the shootout, 3-2, last night in Chicago. The Preds are 1-3-3 on the front end and 2-3-1 on the back end of two-games-in-two-nights scenarios to this point. Six times the Preds will have played one game at home and one on the road (or vice versa), twice they’ll have hit Bridgestone Arena ice on back-to-back days, and on one occasion will have played two road games in two nights. The Predators play a home-and-home set with Chicago next weekend, then have their final back-to-back April 14 (vs. Vancouver) and April 15 (vs. Detroit).
WEBER’S NORRIS PUSH
Shea Weber continues to excel in multiple areas of the game, most recently leading the team in ice time for the 28th time this season and dishing out a game-high 10 hits last night in the Windy City.
• Weber has 19 points (7g-12a) in his last 23 games. He is tied for second among NHL defensemen in goals, and among the Top 20 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 ranks third in the NHL in total minutes played (934:32), and sixth in average ice time (25:57).
• Weber leads the team and is third among defensemen in shots (92).
• Weber also ranks among the Top 25 at the position in both hits (77) and blocked shots (73) – he’s the only blueliner to rank among the Top 30 in points, hits and blocked shots among d-men while averaging more than 25:00 per game.
• His next goal will tie him with Jason Arnott (107) for third on the franchise’s all-time list.
56-11-27 HEAT UP
With his game-tying goal last night in Chicago, Taylor Beck has posted four points (2g-2a) in his last five games. He has played seven career NHL games since joining the team on March 19. Beck has recorded at least three shots on goal in five of his seven games this season.
David Legwand opened the scoring for Nashville and added an assist on Beck’s goal for his second multi-point game in his last three outings. Legwand now has 12 points (6g-6a) in his last 13 games. Nashville’s all-time leading scorer is just three goals shy of 200 for his career.
Patric Hornqvist tallied the primary assist on Beck’s game-tying goal to give him two points (2a) in four games since returning from an upper-body injury on March 25.
JOSI PRODUCING FROM THE BACK LINE TOO
Roman Josi has nine points (2g-7a) in the last nine games to move into the Top 30 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 Shea Weber has not, and his average ice time is up more than 4:30 from his rookie season (from 18:23 to 23:16). He played 28:14 last night and has logged more than 27 minutes in three straight games, including a career-high 30:24 last Thursday against Phoenix.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
After a road-heavy first 30 games, Nashville plays seven of its final 12 games on Broadway. The Predators have posted a 9-3-4 record on Bridgestone Arena ice this season, and have been one of the League’s best teams on home ice since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, compiling 190 home victories, tied for second most in the NHL in that span. Nashville is the only team in the NHL to post at least 23 home victories in seven consecutive seasons.
The Preds have sold out a franchise-record 29 games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. L.A. The team sold out the last eight games of 2011-12, all five 2012 playoff games, and the first 16 games of 2012-13 to bring the streak to 29.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 2 at Chicago 3 (SO)
• Nashville went to extra time for the second consecutive game, falling to 5-8 in games that go beyond 60 minutes. Its 13 overtime/shootout games are second in the League behind only Columbus (14). The Preds are 3-2 in the five-minute, four-on-four session, and 2-6 in shootouts. 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 13th time in 2011-12 until game No. 61 on Feb. 23, 2012 vs. St. Louis.
• Kevin Klein also posted an assist on Legwand’s goal. He has four points (1g-3a) in his last six outings.
• Nine Predators put multiple shots on goal, lead by Paul Gaustad who fired a season-high five shots on goal.
• Nashville was outshot by its opponent for the first time in seven games. Nashville is 7-7-5 when being outshot.
• Nashville was shorthanded three times. Nashville ranks ninth in the League in both fewest times shorthanded (114) and has posted the fifth fewest average penalty minutes (10.5).
• Gabriel Bourque left the game with an upper-body injury. He is questionable for tonight’s game against the Avs.
• Nashville is allowing an average of 26.9 shots against this season, tied for the sixth fewest in the League.
• Nashville has scored the eighth-most first-period goals (tie, 31). It has also found the back of the net in the third frame in 13 of the last 15 games, amassing 18 goals in that span.
• Martin Erat has eight points (1g-7a) in his last six games. He has notched a team-high 15 of his 21 points this season on home ice.
• Gabriel Bourque has eight points (5g-3a) in his last 11 games, and seven goals in his last 15 games. Bourque leads the team in goals (11), with seven coming on the road.
• Mike Fisher was forced to sit out Nashville’s last two games with an upper-body injury, and is questionable for tonight. Prior to being sidelined – from March 14 through Thursday – he had an eight-game point streak (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).
• Bobby Butler has four assists/points in his last five games he’s dressed for after being held scoreless in his first five games in a Preds sweater.
• Rich Clune has seven points (3g-4a) in his last 17 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). He also ranks among the League’s Top 15 in hits (105), and has the fourth-most majors in the League (tie, 10).
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. COLORADO
The Colorado Avalanche make their lone visit to Bridgestone Arena in 2012-13 on Tuesday night, the third and final game between them and the Nashville Predators this season and second contest in the last four games. On Saturday in the teams’ second matinee game at Pepsi Center this season, goaltenders Pekka Rinne and Semyon Varlamov stole the show, stopping a combined 57-of-58 shots over nearly 61 minutes of play. The Preds would fall 1-0 in overtime, but earn at least a point for the fifth time in their last six trips to Denver (4-1-1 record).
These teams also met for a 1 p.m. local time tilt 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 against the Avalanche dating back to Jan. 22, 2010. The Predators went 9-0-0 between the losses, outscoring Colorado 39-17 in that span. 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.
Dating back to Oct. 8, 2009, the Predators have won six straight home games against Colorado, outscoring the Avs 24-14. All-time, Nashville is 14-9-3 when hosting Denver’s team, including an 11-3 mark since the start of the 2005-06 campaign.
Martin Erat has 12 points (5g-7a) in his last nine games against the Avs… Hornqvist has 14 points (7g-6a) in 15 career games against Colorado… Both Matt Halischuk (3g-4a) and Kostitsyn (4g-3a) have seven points in 10 career games vs. Colorado… Weber has 12 points (4g-8a) in his last 14 games against Colorado… Pekka Rinne is 10-3-1 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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