PREDATORS (1-2-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (3-1-0)
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
A NIGHT OF FIRSTS
The Nashville Predators picked up their first win of the 2013-14 season on Tuesday night against Minnesota on a night of firsts for many Predators:
• Filip Forsberg tallied his first NHL goal – a five-on-three power-play goal – at the 5:07 mark of the first period. It was Forsberg’s season debut after missing the first two games with a lower-body injury.
• Seth Jones recorded his first NHL point with the secondary assist on Forsberg’s power-play marker.
• Colin Wilson scored his first goal of the season less than a minute after Forsberg on the Preds remaining power play. Wilson led the Preds in points last season (7g-12a-19pts, 25gp) until a shoulder injury ended his season on March 9, 2013.
• Eric Nystrom converted his first-career penalty shot 11:14 into first period. It was also Nystrom’s first goal in a Preds sweater.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators rank fifth in team face-off win percentage this season (54.7 percent), after finishing the 2012-13 season tied for 18th in the League (49.7 percent). Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who won 20-of-31 draws (65 percent) on Tuesday night. A game prior, the 6-5, 223-pound center went 16-of-18 draws (89 percent), in addition to scoring his first goal of the season. Gaustad leads the League in face-off efficiency (71.6 percent) among players who have taken at least 30 draws this season, and has ranked among the League’s Top 10 in the category in each of the last four seasons.
In addition to Gaustad’s face-off prowess, David Legwand went 8 for 12 (67 percent) in the circle on Tuesday. Legwand has won 58.8 percent of his face-offs this season. Mike Fisher was also above 50 percent on Tuesday night, winning 10-of-17 draws (59 percent).
JONES RACKS UP MINUTES
In addition to recording his first NHL point on Tuesday night, rookie defenseman Seth Jones led the team in ice-time (25:02) for the second consecutive game – finishing second to only Minnesota’s Ryan Suter (25:57) on the night. The Arlington, Texas native leads all rookie blueliners and ranks second on the team in time on ice this season (23:07).
With his helper, Jones became the fourth player from the 2013 Entry Draft to earn a point this season (Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov and Sean Monahan).
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
Tomorrow night, Nashville faces the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second game of a five-game homestand which will see the Wild, Leafs, Islanders, Panthers and Kings all visit the Music City. The Predators have been one of the League’s best teams on home ice since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, compiling 193 home victories, fourth 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 full seasons. The Preds have also sold out a 34 of their last 38 home games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. Los Angeles.
LAST TIME OUT: Minnesota 2, Nashville 3 at Bridgestone Arena
• Nashville tallied all three of its goals in the first period. It last scored three goals in a period on April 2, 2013 vs. Colorado (third period).
• The Predators recorded their first power-play goal(s) of the season. They last scored multiple power-play goals on March 23, 2013 vs. Columbus – a 5-2 win.
• Pekka Rinne stopped 32-of-34 shots for his first win of the season. In the two games since being pulled in the season opener at St. Louis, Rinne has posted a .942 save percentage.
• Rich Clune picked up his first penalty of the season with a fighting major at 2:59 of the first, and ended the game with nine penalty minutes total. Clune ranked fifth in the NHL last season with 113 penalty minutes.
• Seven different Predators earned a point in the game.
• Sixteen of the Predators’ 18 skaters posted at least one shot on goal. Cullen, Hornqvist, and Nystrom each had three shots to lead the team.
• Nashville outhit Minnesota (25-14), and doubled up in the blocked shots column (12-6).
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. TORONTO
The Toronto Maple Leafs make just their fifth-ever trip Bridgestone Arena tonight – the fewest of any of the NHL’s 29 other teams – and their first trip since Nov. 17, 2011. It is also just the fifth overall meeting between the Predators and Leafs since the 2008-09 season. The Predators hold a 7-5-(1)-0 record against the Leafs in their 13-season history, including a 3-1-0 mark at Bridgestone Arena.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS VS. TORONTO
• Matt Cullen made his NHL debut against Toronto on Oct. 28, 1997 (with Anaheim).
• Mike Fisher tied a career high with three points (2g-1a) vs. Toronto on Nov. 27, 2010 (with Ottawa). For his career, Fisher has 34 points (21g-13a) in 57 games against the Maple Leafs. The Peterborough, Ont. native also, converted his second career penalty shot vs. Toronto on Nov. 2, 2010 (Jean-Sebastien Giguere).
• David Legwand tallied his first NHL goal on Oct. 11, 1999 against then-Toronto netminder Glenn Healy.
• Eric Nystrom tied his career-high with two goals and six shots against Toronto on Nov. 25, 2011.
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
January 17, 2002: Johnson scores in OT as Preds beat Leafs in first trip to Nashville
For being one of the NHL’s storied Original Six franchise, the fourth-year Nashville Predators gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a rude welcoming in their first visit to Bridgestone Arena. Greg Johnson pounded a rebound past Leafs goalie Corey Schwab just 47 seconds into overtime to defeat Toronto 3-2, keeping the Preds unbeaten against the team from the “Center of the Hockey Universe.”
"The rebound came right onto my backhand," Johnson said. "I was surprised I got as much wood on it as I did. It just bounced right. I tried to hit it as hard as I could and as high as I could."
Johnson's fourth goal in eight games continued Nashville’s dominance on home ice, improving it to 11-1-5 in its last 17 at home and 3-0-8 in overtime this season.
"The Predators have proved they are a pretty darn good team at home," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. "They come after you and have earned the record they have in this building."
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