FLAMES (19-22-4) at PREDATORS (15-21-9)
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
FIRST GAME, FIRST GOAL FOR HENDERSON
Forward Kevin Henderson became the sixth Predator in the second-half of the season to make his NHL debut on Friday at Chicago, following in the footsteps of Victor Bartley, Taylor Beck, Daniel Bang, Austin Watson and Filip Forsberg. On his third shift at 10:42 of the first period, he scored Nashville’s second goal of the game, making him the first Predator to score in his NHL debut since Craig Smith did it in the 2011-12 season opener on Oct. 7, 2011 at Columbus. The Toronto native would draw an interference penalty (Brent Seabrook) two shifts later, and finished the night a +1 with a goal and two hits in 12:57 played.
With Henderson and Bang being recalled Friday morning – and the injuries to forwards Patric Hornqvist, Paul Gaustad, Mike Fisher, Colin Wilson, Brandon Yip and Gabriel Bourque – Nashville fielded a forward corps that had an average age of 25, contained five players with 16 or fewer NHL games, and four more with less than 160 games experience. Nashville’s two most veteran forwards – Legwand (891gp) and Sergei Kostitsyn (350gp) have combined for 1,241 career contests, the team’s other 10 players up front have combined for 733 NHL games. With veterans sidelined due to injury, a combined 2,072 games of experience at forward are out of the lineup.
HALISCHUK HAS A CAREER NIGHT
Matt Halischuk notched his first career two-goal/three-point game on Friday at Chicago, in addition to tying a career high with four shots on goal, dishing out four hits and blocking two shots. The roommate at linemate of Kevin Henderson with the Kitchener Rangers in 2006-07 also logged 16:49, his highest total since Feb. 19, 2012 at Dallas (19:34). Halischuk started the season with just one assist in his first 16 games of 2012-13, but since a two-game conditioning assignment with Milwaukee (AHL) from March 8-10 where he recorded three points (2g-1a), the Toronto native has nine points (4g-5a) in 18 NHL games.
WEBER STRONG ON THE BACK END
Shea Weber notched an assist on Bobby Butler’s overtime-forcing goal on Friday at Chicago, giving him sole possession of the team lead in points (8g-16a-24pts). He is also tied for sixth among defensemen in goals and tied for 14th in points. He played 26:48 on Friday, the 32nd time this season he’s logged more than 25 minutes in a game, dished out six hits and put a game-high five shots on goal. Weber is currently tied with Jason Arnott (107) for third on the franchise’s all-time goals list, while already ranking fourth in points (287) and fifth in assists (180). The Sicamous, B.C., native also has a franchise-best +43 rating and 49 power-play goals, while ranking second in overtime markers (5).
• Weber has 23 points (8g-15a) in his last 32 games.
• The back-to-back Norris Trophy runner-up has led the team in ice time 36 times this season. He ranks second in the League in total ice time (1,170:53) and ranks sixth in average ice time (26:01).
• Weber leads the team and is third among defensemen in shots (118).
• Weber ranks among the Top 25 at the position in both hits (104) and blocked shots (86) – he’s the only blueliner to rank among the Top 25 in points, hits and blocked shots while averaging more than 25:00 per game.
LAST TIME OUT: NASHVILLE 4 at CHICAGO 5 in overtime
• Nashville scored four goals for the first time in 11 games. This included two first-period markers, equaling their first-period goal total from the previous 10 games combined.
• Nashville was outshot 30-27, but held the opposition to 30 shots or fewer for the 36th time this season. The Preds held Chicago to just two shots in the third period, the lowest single frame total by a Predators opponent this season. Nashville is allowing 27.4 shots per game, the sixth-fewest in the NHL
• Nashville outhit Chicago 32-16. Rich Clune led the way with seven hits, with Shea Weber following closely behind with six. In addition to having the 10th-most hits in the League (146), Clune has 13 major penalties this season, tied for second in the League, and is the first Predator to hit triple digits in penalty minutes since Jordin Tootoo in the 2008-09 season. Weber is tied for 15th among defensemen in hits (104).
• Victor Bartley recorded his first career multi-point/assist performance of his career. He now has points (3a) in back-to-back games for the first time as an NHLer, and has posted four assists in his last four games, topping his output from the first 17 games of his career (3a).
• Bobby Butler forced overtime with his second goal in as many games. He also recorded an assist giving him four points (3g-1a) in his last four games.
• Kevin Klein assisted on Matt Halischuk’s first goal, giving him seven points (2g-5a) in his last 15 outings. Prior to the current streak, Klein had posted just one point (1a) in his previous 20 games.
• Nashville was assessed six penalty minutes. It is averaging the fifth-fewest penalty minutes in the League (10.1), and has been shorthanded the fourth-fewest times (133).
• Chris Mueller recorded his second assist of the season and finished 10-for-15 in the face-off circle (67 percent). He’s won 52.2 percent of his draws this season, tops among active players on the team.
• Roman Josi led the team in ice time (27:35). It was the seventh time this season he’s played more than 27 minutes, and the ninth time he’s led all Preds skaters.
• Hal Gill is expected to play his 1,100 regular-season game on Tuesday. He is tied for 16th among active skaters in games played, and is fourth among active defensemen.
• Pekka Rinne has made a League-high 42 appearances this season, and is third in minutes (2,384:04). He’s also tied for the NHL lead in shutouts (5). Rinne has kept the opposition to two goals or fewer in seven of his last 10 games. He has a 2.66 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage during the month of April despite seeing the team go 1-7-2.
• Filip Forsberg 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) when he made his NHL debut on April 14 against Detroit. 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.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. CALGARY
The Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames complete their three-game 2012-13 slate on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena, with both teams having won a home game to this point. In their most recent meeting on March 21 in the Music City, the Preds overcame allowing two shorthanded goals in a period (the first) for the first time in franchise history to claim a 5-3 victory. Mike Fisher scored a pair of goals, while Nick Spaling provided the game winner. In these teams’ first meeting of 2012-13, the Predators were playing the second game of a back-to-back which saw the Preds play at Vancouver less than 24 hours earlier. Gabriel Bourque, Fisher and David Legwand all scored in the final 35 minutes of play, but a three-goal deficit was too large to overcome as Nashville fell by a 6-3 score at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
On home ice, the Predators have won three straight against the Flames dating back to Dec. 13, 2011. This includes a 5-3 victory on Jan. 1, 2012 when Sergei Kostitsyn registered the 21st hat trick in franchise history in a 5-3 win. Additionally, Nashville has garnered points in five straight when hosting the Flames, going 3-0-2 since the start of the 2010-11 season to improve its home record against them to 16-9-3 all-time.
Roman Josi has had two-assist performances in each of the first two games of the 2012-13 series… In addition to his hat trick, Kostitsyn had a goal in the Oct. 22, 2011 win to finish with four goals in four games vs. Calgary in 2011-12. He did not appear in the March 9 game… Matt Halischuk four points (1g-3a) in his last six games against Calgary.
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