PREDATORS (1-3-0) vs ISLANDERS (2-0-1)
Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators rank fourth in team face-off win percentage this season (56.3 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 has won 56-of-83 draws (67.5 percent) this season to lead the League in the category. The 6-5, 220-pound center 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, three different centers recorded a face-off win percentage of 67 percent or better on Thursday night against Toronto – Matt Cullen (10-of-15, 67 percent), David Legwand (13-of-19, 68 percent) and Mike Fisher (8-of-12, 67 percent) – as Nashville won the battle on the dots by a margin of 40 to 26 (61 percent).
The Nashville Predators are one of three teams to field multiple teenagers in the lineup this season with Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones holding two roster spots (both 19). Buffalo has three teenagers in the lineup, while Washington matches Nashville with two.
After missing the first two games of the season with a lower-body injury, Forsberg tallied his first career goal, a power-play goal, on Tuesday night against Minnesota. With his goal, the Ostervala, Sweden native became one of just 18 rookies to post a goal this season.
Jones has led the team in ice time in three consecutive games, after posting 26:29 on Thursday night. The Arlington, Texas native leads all rookies and ranks second on the team in average time on ice this season (23:58). With his first NHL point/assist on Tuesday against Minnesota, 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
Nashville plays the third game of a five-game homestand tomorrow night against the Islanders, and will close out the home set against the Panthers and Kings next week. 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 39 home games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. Los Angeles.
LAST TIME OUT: Toronto 4, Nashville 0 at Bridgestone Arena
• In addition to leading the team in ice-time, rookie Seth Jones blocked four shots and fired a game-high five shots on goal.
• Pekka Rinne has now stopped three of the five penalty shots he's faced in his career after stopping Carl Gunnarsson with 27 seconds remaining in the third period. It was the 31st penalty shot against in franchise history.
• Rich Clune was credited with eight hits in the game, with six of those coming in the opening period.
• Mike Fisher’s 15 penalty minutes were his most in a game since March 26, 2010 (with Ottawa).
• Nashville posted its most shots (36) for and lowest shots against (26) of the season. Nashville is averaging 29.5 shots per game in 2013-14, after averaging a League-low 25.9 shots per game a season ago.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. NEW YORK
Nashville holds a 10-3-2 edge all-time in the series against the Islanders, and has garnered points in all nine games since the start of the 2002-03 campaign, posting a 7-0-2 record. The Predators are 6-2-0 all-time against the Islanders at Bridgestone Arena.
These teams last met in a matinee tilt on Jan. 16, 2012, as Nashville scored on its first two shots of the game before David Legwand closed out a three-goal first period for Nashville. Pekka Rinne made 36 saves, but was denied a shutout when John Tavares scored with 3:58 remaining.
This is the Islanders first visit to the Music City since Dec. 13, 2010, as the Predators tallied at least a goal in all three frames to shutout the Islanders, 5-0.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS VS. NYI
• Pekka Rinne is 2-0-1 with a 1.30 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage for his career.
• Nick Spaling scored his first NHL goal against the Islanders on Dec. 13, 2010 (Dwayne Roloson).
• Eric Nystrom’s father, Bob, has his No. 23 retired by the Islanders. The elder Nystrom was known as “Mr. Islander” in the early 1980s after recording the 1980 Stanley Cup-clinching goal at 7:11 of overtime in Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers. It was the first Stanley Cup in franchise history and first of four straight Cups for the Isles.
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
On Oct. 15, 2002, at the Nassau Coliseum, Predators defenseman Karlis Skrastins pulled off an offensive feat rarely attained – scoring a goal while his team was two-men down. Forward Vladimir Orszagh and goaltender Tomas Vokoun were both penalized as the clock ran down in the first period, leaving the Predators two-men short against the Islanders heading into the middle frame. Just 21 seconds into the second period, Skrastins caught the Islanders’ goalie Chris Osgood off guard, giving Nashville a 3-1 lead. To this day, it is still the only 3-on-5 goal scored in the Predators’ history.
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