CANUCKS (23-12-6) at PREDATORS (15-20-8)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (Dish: 451/HD: 9539; 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
WELCOME FILIP FORSBERG
Newly acquired prospect Filip Forsberg made his NHL debut on Sunday night against Detroit, logging 18:37 of ice time, registering two shots on net and one hit. Only his linemates, David Legwand (21:50) and Taylor Beck (20:22), saw more ice among Nashville forwards. The 6-1,188-pounder became the third-youngest player (18 years, 244 days) to don a Predators uniform (Scott Hartnell: 18 years, 171 days; David Legwand: 18 years, 243 days).
Forsberg was the recipient of the 2013 Golden Cage Award as the Allsvenskan’s (Sweden-2) top junior player after posting 33 points (15g-18a) in 38 games in 2012-13, then helped Leksand gain promotion to Sweden’s top division by ranking second in goals (5) and eighth in points (tie, 9) in nine qualification games. The Östervåla, Sweden native was the 11th overall pick in last summer’s Entry Draft, and was recently ranked 10th in the world among NHL-affiliated prospects not currently in the League by The Hockey News. Forsberg helped Sweden win gold at the 2012 World Junior Championships, and captained the Swedes to a silver medal at the 2013 World Juniors, being named to the tournament’s All-Star Team in the process.
PREDS RELY ON RINNE
Pekka Rinne made his League-leading 40th appearance of the season on Sunday against Detroit, stopping 29-of-31 shots – has now kept the opposition to two goals or under in seven of his last eight games. In the month of April, he has posted a .939 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average, while facing at least 30 shots on five occasions. The Kempele, Finland native paces the NHL in minutes (2,263:15) and is tied for the League lead in shutouts (5). His run of 25 consecutive starts and 29 straight appearances ended on Friday; both were the second-longest such streak in franchise history to Tomas Vokoun’s 38 starts from Jan. 16-April 6, 2003.
YOUTH AT FORWARD
Forsberg joined Daniel Bang (Tuesday vs. St. Louis) and Austin Watson (April 7 at Chicago) as the latest Nashville forwards to make their NHL debuts in the past 10 days. The forward corps’ average age is 24.9 years old, and David Legwand was the only forward over the age of 27 in the lineup. Nashville’s two most veteran forwards – Legwand (889gp) and Sergei Kostitsyn (348gp) have combined for 1,237 career contests, the team’s other 10 players up front have combined for 718 NHL games. Five of those nine have played less than 60 games. With veterans Paul Gaustad and Mike Fisher, and full-timers Colin Wilson, Brandon Yip and Gabriel Bourque sidelined due to injury, a combined 2,072 games of experience at forward are out of the lineup.
WEBER STRONG ON THE BACK END
Shea Weber is not only tied with David Legwand for the team lead in points (8g-15a-23pts), but is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in goals, and is tied for 11th at the position in points. Weber is currently tied with Jason Arnott (107) for third on the franchise’s all-time goals list, while already ranking fourth in points (286) and fifth in assists (179). The Sicamous, B.C., native also has a franchise-best +44 rating and 49 power-play goals, while ranking second in overtime markers (5).
• Weber has 22 points (8g-14a) in his last 30 games.
• The back-to-back Norris Trophy runner-up led the team in ice time for the 35th time this season on Sunday (27:37). He leads the League in total ice time (1,119:07) and ranks fifth in average ice time (26:01).
• Weber leads the team and is third among defensemen in shots (110).
• Weber ranks among the Top 20 at the position in both hits (96) and blocked shots (84) – he’s the only blueliner to rank among the Top 20 in points, hits and blocked shots while averaging more than 25:00 per game.
LAST TIME OUT: DETROIT 3 at NASHVILLE 0
• The Predators PK unit was a perfect two-for-two, and has now killed off 13 of its last 15 opportunities against. The Preds have been shorthanded the fifth-fewest times in the NHL (126), and are one of just four teams averaging less than 10 penalty minutes per game (9.8).
• Nashville allowed more than 30 shots for just the 11th time this season. It is holding the opposition to 27.4 shots per game, the sixth-lowest total in the League.
• Rookie Taylor Beck put a career-high seven shots on goal, included five in the opening period. He has 11 shots in his last two games. His 20:22 in ice time was also a career high.
• David Legwand went over 20 minutes in ice time for a fourth consecutive game. His 22:05 represents his second-highest total of the season (22:21 on February 2 at San Jose). He has posted six points (3g-3a) in his last eight games, and 16 points (8g-8a) in his last 20 games dating back to March 8 against Edmonton. Nashville’s all-time leading scorer is just one goal shy of 200 for his career.
• Austin Watson was 5-of-8 in the faceoff circle; he’s gone 10-of-17 since going 2-of-6 in his NHL debut on April 7 at Chicago.
• Kevin Klein's slashing penalty at 7:47 of the second period was a rarity for the defenseman – it was only his second minor penalty in the last 115 regular-season games. Tomas Vincour (DAL - 2 PIM in 47 GP), Ryan Russell (CBJ - 2 PIM in 41 GP), and Antti Miettinen (WPG - 0 PIM in 45 GP) were the only other players with at least 40 games played who had fewer than Klein's four penalty minutes last season.
• Rich Clune added four hits to his team-leading total, and now sits at 134 in 2012-13, 12th in the NHL in the category.
• The third-period penalty shot awarded to Bobby Butler was the 25th in franchise history.
THIS DATE IN PREDATORS HISTORY
On April 15 one year ago, the Nashville Predators topped the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena to take a two-games-to-one advantage in the teams’ Western Conference Quarterfinal series. Shea Weber and Kevin Klein put the Preds up by two goals in the first 24 minutes of the matinee affair, and Sergei Kostitsyn scored the eventual game winner at 16:30 of the third period. Pekka Rinne stopped 41-of-43 shots in what would be the first of three straight victories, with Nashville advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals five days later.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. VANCOUVER
The Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks meet for the third and final time this season on Monday night at Bridgestone Arena with the Predators in search of their first win of the season against British Columbia’s team. Last time these teams met on March 14, 2013, Vancouver used five goals in the first 35 minutes of play to claim a 7-4 win at Rogers Arena. Matt Halischuk posted a goal and an assist for the Predators, while Mike Fisher, Nick Spaling and Gabriel Bourque all found the back of the net. In their first matchup of 2012-13 on Feb. 22, 2013, Pekka Rinne stopped 23-of-24 shots, but the Canucks prevailed, 1-0.
Fisher has seven points (5g-2a) in his last five games against Vancouver. In 21 career games against the Canucks, he has 11 goals and 15 points… Jonathon Blum played for the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants from 2005-09, finishing his career as the franchise’s all-time leader in defensive scoring, in addition to ranking third overall on the franchise’s scoring list. During his tenure, the team claimed four division titles, two conference titles, a WHL Championship and a Memorial Cup Championship… The Preds have three B.C. natives on their roster – Victor Bartley (Maple Ridge), Shea Weber (Sicamous) and Brandon Yip (Vancouver) – in addition to three other B.C.-born players in the organization, including North Vancouver’s Colton Sissons, drafted 50th overall (second round) in the 2012 Entry Draft.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS vs. VANCOUVER
Hal Gill – Played his first NHL game on Oct. 17, 1997 at Vancouver
Craig Smith – Career high three assists on Dec. 1, 2011 at Vancouver
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