BLACKHAWKS (27-5-4) at PREDATORS (15-15-8)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (Dish: 445/HD: 9515; 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
On Thursday night against Columbus, Nashville put a season-high 39 shots on goal. It was the third time in five games, and fourth time this season that the Predators have fired at least 38 shots. The Predators also put up double-digit shot totals in each of the game’s three periods for only the second time this season (last on March 28 vs. Phoenix). Roman Josi tied for the team lead and tied his career high with six shots on goal. He has posted six shots in back-to-back games and three times in his last five outings. Josi now has recorded 28 shots on goal in the last seven games. Ryan Ellis, who was recalled from Milwaukee on Thursday, also put up a career high with four shots on goal.
Nashville has averaged 35.2 shots over the last five games, and has outshot the opposition in eight of the last nine games. Prior to the current streak, Nashville was averaging just 24.6 shots per game. The Predators and Blue Jackets combined for 77 shots on Thursday, the highest total in a Preds game this season. The all-time record for combined shots in a Predators game is 90 (Nov. 16, 2006 vs. Minnesota).
KLEIN ON THE OFFENSIVE
Kevin Klein tallied the Predators’ lone goal on Thursday night, giving him points (1g-2a) in three consecutive games, matching the longest streak of his career (Dec. 1-6, 2010), and six points (2g-4a) in his last eight outings. Prior to the current hot streak, Klein had posted just one point (1a) in his previous 20 games. He also fired a career-high six shots on goal to tie Roman Josi for the team lead. The Kitchener, Ont., native blocked two shots on the night. He ranks second on the team and among the League’s Top 25 d-men in the category this season (71).
THREE GAME POINT STREAKS
David Legwand claimed sole possession of the team points lead with an assist on Thursday against Columbus, his third consecutive game with a point/assist. Legwand has five points (2g-3a) in that span, and 15 points (7g-8a) in his last 15 games. Additionally, Nashville’s all-time leading scorer is just two goals shy of 200 for his career. Six of Legwand’s 10 goals this season have come in the third period; in 2011-12 he scored 12 of his 19 goals in the third period or overtime.
Flanking Legwand on the right side is Patric Hornqvist, who also extended his point/assist streak to three games with a helper on Thursday; he has four points (1g-3a) in that span. Since returning from an eight-game absence on March 23, the Sollentuna, Sweden native has five points (1g-4a) in six games.
THE PREDATORS IN BACK-TO-BACKS AND MATINEES
The Predators are playing the front end of their eighth of nine sets of back-to-backs in 2012-13 today; their final back-to-back comes April 14 (vs. Vancouver) and April 15 (vs. Detroit) at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds are 1-3-3 on the front end and 3-3-1 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.
This afternoon marks the last of three afternoon games the Nashville Predators play in 2012-13, with the other two coming at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Since the start of the 2003-04 campaign, Nashville has a 22-8-9 record in matinees.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
After a road-heavy first 30 games, Nashville started a stretch of 12 home games out of its final 18 on March 21 against Calgary. The Predators have posted a 10-4-4 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 191 home victories, tied for third 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 also sold out a 30 of their last 31 home games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. L.A.
WEBER’S NORRIS PUSH
Shea Weber led all Predators skaters for the 30th time this season (25:47), put three shots on goal and blocked a game-high four shots on Thursday against Columbus as he continues to excel in multiple areas of the game.
• Weber has 20 points (7g-13a) in his last 25 games. He is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in goals and tied for 12th in points (7g-14a-21pts). 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 (987:08), and sixth in average ice time (25:58).
• Weber leads the team and is third among defensemen in shots (100).
• The Sicamous, B.C., native ranks among the Top 25 at the position in both hits (79) and blocked shots (77) – he’s the only blueliner to rank among the Top 25 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.
LAST TIME OUT: COLUMBUS 3 at NASHVILLE 1
• Nashville failed to record a point against the Blue Jackets in a home game for the first time since April 3, 2006, a span of 23 games.
• Nashville was shorthanded twice, with the penalty kill allowing a goal for the first time in four games. Nashville ranks among the Top 10 in the League in both fewest times shorthanded (118) and among the Top Five in fewest average penalty minutes (10.4).
• Pekka Rinne's 35 saves were his fourth-highest total of the season. He has had more success in Saturday games than on any other day of the week. He is 45-15-13 with a 1.98 goals-against average, a .933 save percentage and 12 shutouts on Saturdays. The Kempele, Finland native has also started 12 day games in his career, posting a 6-3-3 record with a 2.19 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and a shutout. Rinne leads the League in minutes played (2,026:43) and shutouts (5).
• Mike Fisher returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games due to injury. He has nine points (5g-4a), in his last nine games.
• Ryan Ellis saw a career high 20:11 in ice time in his first game back from Milwaukee (AHL). He was recalled on an emergency basis with Victor Bartley out of the lineup due to illness. It was Bartley’s first game missed since making his NHL debut on March 8. He played a career-high 22:17 on Tuesday vs. Colorado.
• Hal Gill celebrates his 38th birthday on Saturday. He’s the first player over 37 to play for the club. Gill is ranked 17th among active NHLers, and fifth among defensemen, in games played (1,092).
• Gabriel Bourque – who has missed the past two games – 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.
• 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.
• Taylor Beck has six points (2g-4a) in his last seven games. He has played nine career NHL games since joining the team on March 19.
• Roman Josi has nine points (2g-7a) in the last 11 games.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. CHICAGO
The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks drop the puck on a good old fashioned home-and-home series on Saturday afternoon with the back-half to come Sunday evening at the United Center. These two games are the second and third against Chicago in a seven-day span, as Nashville wrapped up a two-game road trip in the Windy City on Monday. After falling behind by two goals, the Predators rallied in the final frame on goals by David Legwand and Taylor Beck to force overtime and earn a point, eventually falling in a shootout, 3-2. In these teamss first meeting of 2012-13, the Blackhawks struck twice in the second and once in the third to hand Nashville a rare regulation home loss on Feb. 10.
The Predators power play has gone 0-for-1 in each of the first two games against the Hawks this season, but is 6-for-19 over the past seven games (31.6 percent). Overall, Nashville is 4-2-2 against Chicago since the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
Legwand has 10 points (2g-8a) in his last eight games against Chicago. He has 56 career points (20g-36a) against Chicago – more points and assists than any other player against any team in franchise history and tied for the most goals… Patric Hornqvist (4g-4a-8pts, 7gp) and Mike Fisher (2g-4a-6pts, 6gp) are both producing at a point-per-game clip or greater against Chicago since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign.
|Back to top ↑|