PREDATORS (0-1-0) at AVALANCHE (1-0-0)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (Dish: 446/HD: 9516; 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, MR. JONES
Rookie Seth Jones celebrated his 19th birthday by making his NHL debut last night in St. Louis. Jones becomes the first Preds rookie to make his NHL debut in a season opener since Craig Smith in the 2011-12 season. The 6-4, 205-pound defenseman played a total of 18:35 of ice time, including 3:52 on the power play. Jones fired three shots on goal and posted a +2 rating on the night.
HUTTON IN RELIEF
Goaltender Carter Hutton was called upon early in the 2013-14 season, after Pekka Rinne allowed three goals on six shots in St. Louis. Hutton, making just his second NHL appearance, allowed one power-play goal on 22 shots against in 50:15 of work after the change. Prior to last night, the Thunder Bay, Ont., native had only played one NHL contest – the final game of last season with Chicago, a 3-1 loss to the Blues.
The Predators are playing the back end of their first of 14 sets of back-to-backs in 2013-14 after the 4-2 loss last night in St. Louis. Nashville’s 14 sets of two-games-in-two-nights are five more than a season ago, when the team was 1-5-3 on the front end and 3-5-1 on the back end of back-to-back tilts. The Preds will play one game at home and one on the road (or vice versa) seven times in 2013-14, they’ll play two road games in two days six times and on one occasion they will hit the Bridgestone Arena ice on back-to-back days.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 2, St. Louis 4 at Scottrade Center
• Mike Fisher opened the scoring on the 2013-14 season with his goal at 10:42 of the first period.
• David Legwand tallied a goal in a season opener for the fifth time in his career and the first time since Oct. 9, 2010. Legwand led the Predators in goals a season ago with 12.
• Paul Gaustad won 12 of 18 face-offs (66.7 percent) on the night. Gaustad led Nashville and ranked third in the League in face-off efficiency a season ago (57.7 percent), his fourth season finishing among the League’s Top 10 in the category.
• Shea Weber led the Preds with 26:59 of total ice time. Weber led the team in ice time in 37 of 48 games a season ago and logged more than 25 minutes on 33 occasions. No Preds player logged less than 11 minutes against the Blues.
• Eric Nystrom’s 10 PIM (a game misconduct penalty) were his most penalty minutes since March 6, 2009 when he posted a career-high 17 minutes as a member of the Flames.
• Nashville outshot St. Louis 30-28. The Predators only outshot their opponents 19 times last season, going 7-9-3 in those contests. Patric Hornqvist and Roman Josi led the Preds with a game-high four shots apiece.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. COLORADO
In the Preds’ last trip to the Pepsi Center on March 30, 2013, 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). Dating back to Nov. 25, 2009, the Predators are 5-2-1 at the Pepsi Center, outscoring the Avs 28-17. All time, Nashville is 12-12-4 in the Mile High City.
Patric Hornqvist (1g-2a) and Shea Weber (1g-2a) led the Preds against the Avs with three points each in 2012-13… Hornqvist has 16 points (8g-8a) in 16 career games against Colorado… Weber has 13 points (4g-9a) in his last 15 games against Colorado… Pekka Rinne is 11-3-1 all-time against the Avs… Matt Hendricks broke into the League with Colorado, playing 60 games for the Avs from 2008 to 2010, posting 16 points (9g-7a) and 87 penalty minutes during that span.
An eventful summer of 2013 has the Predators’ top players locked up long term. Key core players like Matt Cullen, Mike Fisher, Paul Gaustad, Matt Hendricks, Patric Hornqvist, Roman Josi, Kevin Klein, Eric Nystrom, Viktor Stalberg and Colin Wilson are all under contract for at least two more seasons. Captain Shea Weber – arguably the League’s top defenseman and a two-time Norris Trophy runner-up – is under contract for the next 13 seasons, while goaltender Pekka Rinne – a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist – is locked down for the next six seasons.
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