PREDATORS (3-3-1) at CANADIENS (5-2-0)
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
The Nashville Predators closed out a five-game homestand on Thursday night with a 2-1 shootout loss to Los Angeles. The Preds posted a 3-1-1 record during the stint in 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 195 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 homestand also produced some memorable moments in Preds history:
• David Legwand, the franchise’s first-ever draft pick (second overall, 1998), appeared in his 900th career game on Oct. 15 against Florida. The Grosse Pointe, Mich., native tallied an assist on the night.
• Goaltender Pekka Rinne played in his 300th career game on Thursday against L.A., becoming just the second goalie in franchise history to hit the mark.
• Rookies Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones both posted their first career NHL goals during the homestand. Forsberg (Oct. 8 vs. MIN) and Jones (Oct. 12 vs. NYI) became two of just five teenagers to score a goal for the Preds all-time, joining Legwand, Scott Hartnell and Scottie Upshall.
• Eric Nystrom converted his first career penalty shot against Minnesota’s Josh Harding on Oct. 8. It was his first goal of the season and first in a Preds sweater.
• Matt Cullen recorded his first goal in a Nashville sweater on Thursday night against the Kings.
• In all, 12 different Predators recorded at least a point during the five-game homestand, including seven players who notched their first points of the season.
SMITH CAME TO PLAY
Craig Smith recorded a point in his third consecutive game on Thursday night with the primary assist on Matt Cullen’s first period goal. The Madison, Wis., native has four points (1g-3a) in his last three outings and is just two games shy of his career-long five-game points streak (2g-3a) set during the 2011-12 season. His assist on Thursday night also tied him with Mike Fisher for the team points lead (1g-4a-5pts).
Goaltender Pekka Rinne has turned away 65-of-71 shots against to post a 1.95 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage in his last three outings (2-0-1). On Thursday night against the Kings, Rinne became just the second netminder in franchise history to play in 300 games for the Preds (Tomas Vokoun, 383). His career 2.37 goals-against average ranks third among active goalies with at least 300 games played (Martin Brodeur, 2.23; Henrik Lundqvist, 2.26).
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators rank second in team face-off win percentage this season (56.2 percent). Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who has won at least 60 percent of his face-offs in three straight games, and has won 90-of-136 draws this season (66.9 percent) 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. David Legwand currently ranks ninth in the League in face-off efficiency after going 56 for 95 this season (58.9 percent).
Nashville outshot the opposition for the fifth time in seven games on Thursday night, and has now outshot its opponent in four straight games (by a total of 132-97). With the 35-30 margin against the Kings, the Predators have fired an average of 30.6 shots on goal (tied for 15th), while allowing just 27.9 shots on goal – the seventh-fewest shots against per game in the League.
Rookie Seth Jones recorded a career-high 28:14 of ice time in the Predators 2-1 shootout loss to the Kings on Thursday night. The Arlington, Texas native leads all first year players in time on ice (23:46), and is tied for third in power-play goals (1), fourth in shots on goal (17) and 13th in points (1g-2a-3pts).
Fellow rookie Filip Forsberg ranks ninth in time on ice (14:15) among rookie forwards, while his two points (1g-1a) on the year are good for 12th among his peer group.
Nashville is 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 multiple teenagers in its lineup (three).
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 1, Los Angeles 2 (SO) at Bridgestone Arena
• It was Nashville’s first trip to overtime or shootout this season.
• The Predators did not allow a power-play goal for the third straight game, going a perfect 8-for-8 during that span.
• Nashville recorded the first goal of the game for the third consecutive game (2-0-1).
• Patric Hornqvist fired a game-high seven shots on goal (tied with L.A.’s Jeff Carter). Hornqvist's shot total was the highest by a Predator this season.
• Defenseman Kevin Klein blocked a game-high six shots. He leads the Predators with 14 blocks on the season.
• Shea Weber led all players in ice time, surpassing the 30-minute mark for the first time this season (30:23; previous high of 26:59).
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. MONTREAL
The Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens square off for the first time since Nov. 12, 2011, and the first time in La Métropole since Nov. 18, 2010. Nashville is an even 5-5-4 in 14 all-time games against Montreal, but has only lost to the League’s oldest team once on Bell Centre ice since Dec. 18, 2003. The Preds are 55-33-16 against the Eastern Conference since 2005-06 and 31-16-9 vs. the East since 2009-10.
The Preds and Habs last met on Nov. 12, 2011, in the franchise’s 1,000th regular-season game. Montreal jumped out an early lead, before Shea Weber tied the game with a shorthanded goal early in the second period. The score would remain tied until Max Pacioretty beat Pekka Rinne midway through overtime.
In their last meeting at Bell Centre, the Predators scored three goals in the final 40 minutes of play to defeat the Canadiens, 3-0. Rinne made 30 saves for his second shutout of the season and the 16th of his career.
Pekka Rinne has shut out the Habs in two of his last three outings (Nov. 14, 2009; Nov. 18, 2010) against the Habs. The 6-5 netminder has recorded a career 2-1-1 record with a 1.24 goals against average and .947 save percentage in four games against Montreal… Matt Cullen has 24 points (11g-13a) in 33 career games against the Habs… Mike Fisher, who has faced the Canadiens more than any other Pred, has posted 28 points (13g-15a) in 52 career games.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS AND FRANCHISE RECORDS VS. MONTREAL
• Paul Gaustad posted his last three-point effort (1g-2a) against the Canadiens on Jan. 31, 2012.
• Matt Hendricks tied his career-high five shots on goal on March 15, 2011, at the Bell Centre.
• Viktor Stalberg made his NHL debut against Montreal on Oct. 1, 2009.
• Kimmo Timonen coverted the franchise’s first penalty shot against Montreal’s Jeff Hackett on Nov.18, 1999.
• Nashville scored a franchise-record two shorthanded goals against Montreal on Nov. 18, 1999 (6-1 win).
• The Predators posted the highest shots on goal total in franchise history (55) in a 2-0 victory of the Habs on Nov. 14, 2009.
15th ANNIVERSARY MOMENTS
December 1, 2007 – David Legwand becomes the franchise’s all-time leading point scorer
On Dec. 1, 2007 – with the franchise in the midst of its celebration of 10 years of existence – Nashville’s first-ever draft pick, David Legwand, became its all-time leading scorer with three points (1g-2a) as the Predators rallied from a 4-1 deficit to top Montreal 5-4 in a shootout. Just 48 hours after a wild, come-from-behind, 6-5 victory at Ottawa, Legwand overtook Kimmo Timonen – while spurring the scoring barrage – when he buried a second-chance puck that trickled past goal-minder Cristobal Huet. His seventh goal of the year brought the score to 4-2 at the 12:26 mark in the third period. The goal was the 302nd point of his NHL career and put him in sole possession of first place amongst Predator point scorers. He then registered two assists on the Predators’ final two regulation goals at 16:55 and 19:13.
The Predators scored four third-period goals in a span of 10:34 against the Canadiens to send the game to extra time and ultimately won 5-4 in a shootout; the victory was the franchise’s first in Montreal’s Bell Centre.
October 19, 2000: Ronning gives Preds their first win in Detroit
The Central Division provides the Predators’ fiercest rivals, and no team gets Nashville blood boiling quite like the Detroit Red Wings. A powerhouse in the NHL for as long as Nashville has been a part of the league, Detroit won every game against the Preds in their home arena, the Joe Louis Arena, over the teams’ first two seasons (1998-99 & 1999-00) of head-to-head competition.
On October 19, 2000, Nashville’s first trip to Joe Louis in 2000-01, the Predators wrote a new chapter in this burgeoning rivalry. With Detroit goaltender Manny Legace pulled for an extra attacker, the Wings’ Sergei Fedorov tied the game at 1-1 with only four seconds remaining in regulation, spoiling an astounding 45-save performance from Nashville netminder Mike Dunham.
But Nashville’s top scorer, Cliff Ronning, made all right in Pred nation. The 5-8, 165-pounder solved Legace with a tough-angle shot 1:51 into overtime. Ronning’s goal silenced the 19,995 Motown faithful, and Nashville captured a 2-1 victory, its first of several memorable wins at the Joe.
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