JONES CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
With his first career goal on Saturday, rookie Seth Jones etched his name in the Preds record books as just the fifth teenager to score a goal for the Preds, joining David Legwand, Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall and Filip Forsberg.
Jones’ goal comes just two games after recording his first NHL point on Forsberg’s first career goal on Oct. 8 vs. Minnesota. In addition to his goal, Jones recorded 21:40 of ice time and three shots on Saturday night en route to being named the game’s First Star. The Arlington, Texas native leads all rookies in time on ice (23:30) and ranks second in shots on goal (14) and power-play goals (1).
The Nashville Predators are one of two teams to field multiple teenagers in their lineup this season with Jones and Forsberg holding two roster spots (both 19). Buffalo is the only other team with three teenagers in its lineup.
GETTING ON THE BOARD
In Saturday’s win over the New York Islanders, several key members of the Preds offense recorded their first points of the season:
• Patric Hornqvist, who has been one of Nashville’s most reliable scorers the past five seasons, found the back of the net for the first time late in the second. It was his first goal since April 2, 2013 against Colorado.
• Ryan Ellis posted a two-point effort (1g-1a) on the night, including the game-winner. It was Ellis’ first point since Feb. 14, 2013, his first multi-point game since Feb. 5, 2013, and first game-winning goal since Feb. 14, 2012. Ellis’ effort on Saturday night was also the first multi-point game by a Predator this season.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators rank fourth in team face-off win percentage this season (56.9 percent). Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who has won 67-of-98 draws (68.4 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.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
Nashville plays the fourth game of a five-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Islanders, and will close out the home set against the Kings on Thursday night. The Predators have been one of the League’s best teams on home ice since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, compiling 194 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 35 of their last 40 home games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. Los Angeles.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 3, N.Y. Islanders 2 at Bridgestone Arena
• For the first time this season, Nashville scored the game’s first goal.
• The Predators recorded at least 30 shots on goal for the third time in five games, and have outshot their opponent 67-42 over the last two contests.
• After going without a power-play goal in the first two games of the season, the Predators are 3-for-9 in their last three games (33.3 percent) after seeing Jones convert the first of two man-advantage opportunities on the night.
• Viktor Stalberg made his season debut after missing the first four games with a shoulder injury. He recorded 12:20 of ice time and one shot on goal.
• Matt Cullen led all skaters with six shots on goal, tied for the highest individual total by a Pred this season.
• Nashville won at least 60 percent of the game’s face-offs for the second consecutive night. It was led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who won 11-of-15 draws (78 percent) and David Legwand, who went nine for 15 (60 percent). The Predators have won the face-off battle in all five games this season.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. FLORIDA
This is the 19th all-time meeting between the clubs dating back to Oct. 10, 1998, when the Predators played their inaugural game at Bridgestone Arena.
The Preds are an even 8-7-(3)-0 in the previous 18 games, but have claimed five-of-seven games since the start of the 2007-08 campaign. On home ice, the Predators are unbeaten in seven games dating back to Oct. 27, 2000, winning five and tying twice in that span.
These teams last met in the Music City on Dec. 11, 2010, as Nashville scored twice in the first period and added a third period empty-net power-play goal in the final minute of play to secure a 3-0 shutout win over the Panthers.
Matt Cullen has faced the Panthers more than any other Predator, posting 27 points (11g-16a) in 41 career games. Cullen played two seasons with the Panthers from 2002-2004, recording 31 points (12g-19a) in 86 games… David Legwand has 12 points (5g-7a) in 12 career games again Florida… Mike Fisher has faced Florida 33 times in his career, posting 25 points (13g-12a) in those contests… For his career, Pekka Rinne is 2-2-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage against Florida.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS VS. FLA
• Matt Cullen recorded his first career goal on Jan. 21, 1998 vs. Florida (Kevin Weekes).
• Mike Fisher last tied his career-high nine shots on goal against the Panthers on Dec. 8, 2008.
• Paul Gaustad played his first game in a Preds sweater against the Panthers on March 3, 2012.
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