PREDATORS (16-21-9) at RED WINGS (22-16-8)
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Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates
A PAIR OF FIRSTS
One game after forward Kevin Henderson tallied his first NHL goal in his first NHL game, Predators skaters recorded two more NHL firsts on Tuesday as forwards Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson found the scoresheet for the first time. Forsberg, who made his NHL debut against Detroit on April 17, tallied his first NHL point with an assist on David Legwand’s 200th career goal. Watson, who was playing in his sixth NHL contest, gave the Predators the lead with his first NHL marker in the third period.
With injuries to forwards Patric Hornqvist, Paul Gaustad, Mike Fisher, Colin Wilson, Brandon Yip and Gabriel Bourque – Daniel Bang, Henderson and Watson were recalled once again Tuesday morning as Nashville fielded a forward corps that had an average age of 25. Up front, the Predators have five players with 16 or fewer NHL games, and five more with less than 160 games experience. Nashville’s two most veteran forwards – Legwand (892gp) and Sergei Kostitsyn (351gp) have combined for 1,243 career contests, the team’s other 10 players up front have combined for 742 NHL games. With veterans sidelined due to injury, a combined 2,072 games of experience at forward are out of the lineup for Nashville.
AND A PAIR OF MILESTONES
David Legwand opened the scoring for Nashville at 14:39 of the first period with his 200th career NHL goal. Nashville’s first-ever draft pick becomes the first home-grown Pred to break the 200-goal plateau. The Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., native already holds nearly every offensive record in franchise history – games played (892), goals (200), game-winning goals (39), assists (325) and points (525). Tuesday night’s marker was his 12th of the season, giving him the outright team lead in goals this season. Despite holding the Predators’ all-time franchise mark for goals, Legwand has only held the team lead in a season once before (27 in 2006-07; tied with Jason Arnott).
Another milestone was achieved on Tuesday night as defenseman Hal Gill appeared in his 1,100th NHL game. Gill, who ranks fourth among active defensemen in games played, first took the ice for the Boston Bruins on Oct. 17, 1997 vs. Vancouver. The Concord, Mass., native has posted 184 points (36g-148a) in his career. Tuesday night’s game was his 53rd in the Predators sweater.
WEBER STRONG ON THE BACK END
Shea Weber posted his sixth multi-point performance of the season in Tuesday’s win with a pair of assists; he leads the team in points (8g-18a-26pts). In addition to being tied for sixth among defensemen in goals, Nashville’s captain is tied for 13th in both points and power-play goals (3) among blueliners. He’s logged more than 25 minutes on 32 occasions, and led the team in ice time in 36 games. Weber is currently tied with Jason Arnott (107) for third on the franchise’s all-time goals list, while already ranking fourth in points (289) and fifth in assists (182). 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 25 points (8g-17a) in his last 33 games.
• The back-to-back Norris Trophy runner-up ranks fourth in the League in total ice time (1,194:22), and sixth in average ice time (25:57).
• Weber leads the team and is third among defensemen in shots (120).
• Weber ranks among the Top 25 at the position in both hits (106) and blocked shots (88) – 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.
FORMER KITCHENER RANGER LINEMATES LIGHT THE LAMP
Both Nick Spaling and Matt Halischuk – who formed a line with fellow Preds forward Kevin Henderson with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers during the 2006-07 season – both scored in Tuesday’s win. For Halischuk, the goal was his fourth career game winner, and comes just one game after he notched his first career two-goal/three-point game on Friday at Chicago. 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 10 points (5g-5a) in 19 NHL games. Spaling’s goal was the second power-play goal of his career and ninth of the season – just one off of last season’s 77-game total. Tuesday’s goal also gives him tallies in two of the past three games. He also put a team-high four shots on net, his highest total of the season.
LAST TIME OUT: CALGARY 3 at NASHVILLE 4
• The Predators scored four goals in a game for the 12th time this season. They have also scored a goal in six consecutive regulation periods.
• Nashville held Calgary to 18 shots on goal, tied for the second-fewest allowed by the team this season. It was the 37th time Nashville has held the opposition to 30 shots or fewer, and it ranks fifth in fewest shots allowed per game (27.2).
• The Preds hit double digits in shots in each of the three periods, a feat accomplished only twice previously in 2012-13.
• Nashville was assessed four penalty minutes. It is averaging tied with Detroit for the fourth-fewest penalty minutes in the League (9.9), and only Minnesota has been shorthanded fewer times the Nashville’s 133.
• The Predators power play went one-for-three, and clicked at a 23.5 percent clip at Bridgestone Arena in 2012-13, seventh-best in the NHL.
• In 2012-13, Nashville posted a 7-2-0 record in games played on Tuesday.
• Kevin Klein led all Predators in ice time at 23:55. It is the first time this season that neither Shea Weber nor Roman Josi have led the team. He also recorded an assist, giving him helpers in back-to-back games, and eight points (2g-6a) in his last 16 outings. Prior to the current streak, Klein had posted just one point (1a) in his previous 20 games.
• Rich Clune extended his team penalty minute lead with a pair of minor penalties for roughing. His 109 penalty minutes are fifth in the NHL. He also dished out five hits, and is ranked eighth in the League in the category (151).
• Goaltender Pekka Rinne ended the home portion of 2012-13 with an 11-7-4 record, a 2.00 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. He is tied for the League lead in both appearances (43) and starts (42).
• Chris Mueller picked up an assist for the second consecutive game, giving him his first NHL point streak.
• Bobby Butler notched an assist, giving him points (2g-2a) in three straight, and five points (3g-2a) in his last five games.
• Roman Josi notched an assist, giving him 18 points this season, better than his 52-game total from his rookie campaign in 2011-12.
• Victor Bartley has posted four assists in his last five games, topping his output from the first 17 games of his career (3a).
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. DETROIT
The Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings meet for the final time as Central Division foes on Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena, the last of four meetings between the teams in 2012-13. Twelve days ago at Bridgestone Arena, the Red Wings claimed their second straight win in the series, 3-0, despite a solid effort in net by Pekka Rinne, who stopped 29-of-31 shots; they also won the last time these teams met in Motown, on Feb. 23 (4-0). The Predators took a 4-3 overtime victory in the series opener on Feb. 19, as Shea Weber proved to be the overtime hero, scoring just 44 seconds into the frame to cap off a two-point night to earn First Star honors. Colin Wilson also notched a pair of points (2a), while both Craig Smith and Roman Josi scored. Despite the 1-2-0 record this season, the Preds are 7-3-0 in their last 10 against Detroit – regular season and playoffs combined.
Weber has five points (4g-1a) in his last seven regular-season games against the Wings… Both members of Nashville’s top defensive paring made their NHL debuts against Detroit – Weber on Jan. 6, 2006 and Roman Josi on Nov. 26, 2011… In 66 career games against his hometown team, David Legwand has 40 points (15g-25a)… For his career, Pekka Rinne is 12-7-3 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. He also has three shutouts against Detroit, one of four teams he has more than two whitewashes against (Phoenix 5, Dallas and Minnesota, 3)… Sergei Kostitsyn has recorded 10 points (4g-6a) in 16 regular-season games against Detroit, and scored the game-winning goal in Game Three of the 2012 WCQ at Joe Louis Arena… Austin Watson will be playing his first NHL game in Detroit on Thursday – he grew up 40 miles east of Detroit in Ann Arbor, and began his junior career with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, who play just across the river from Detroit.
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