Rookies Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones continue to impress this season as they see their workload expand. Forsberg currently ranks 11th in average time on ice among rookie forwards (13:37), while his three points (1g-2a) are tied for 11th among his peer group.
Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (24:23), and ranks 22nd in the League in the category. Jones also ranks fifth in shots on goal (20), while he is tied for fifth in power-play goals (1) and tied for ninth in points (2g-2a-4pts) among rookies.
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 who has fielded multiple teenagers in its lineup this season (four total).
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators won the face-off battle for the eighth consecutive game on Tuesday night, and lead the League in team face-off win percentage this season (55.8 percent). Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who has won 117-of-190 draws this season (61.6 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 also ranks among the League’s Top 15 in face-off efficiency after going 78 for 138 this season (56.5 percent).
• Shea Weber has posted at least 25 minutes of ice time in four straight games to rank seventh in the League in the category (25:47).
• In his last five outings, goaltender Pekka Rinne has turned away 120-of-128 shots against to post a 1.60 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage, (3-1-1).
• The Predators have outshot their opponent by a total of 211-194 through the last seven games.
• Mattias Ekholm ranks fifth among all rookies in average time on ice this season (20:07). He played a career-high 22:30 against Winnipeg on Sunday night.
• After allowing six power-play goals in the first four outings of the season, Nashville has not allowed a power-play goal in six straight games. The Preds were a perfect two for two against the Wild on Tuesday, and are now tied for 13th in the League in penalty kill percentage (82.9 percent).
SMITH CAME TO PLAY
Craig Smith has recorded five points (1g-4a) in his last six outings to move into the team points lead (1g-5a-6pts). The Madison, Wis., native also leads the team with a +4 rating on the year, while his 30 shots on goal are tied with Patric Hornqvist for the team lead. With his success this season, Smith is seeing an increase in ice time to more than 30 seconds above what he averaged a season ago.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
Nashville has posted a 3-1-1 record at home thus far in 2013-14, after collecting at least a point in four-of-five home games to start the season. 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 have also sold out a 35 of their last 42 home games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. Los Angeles.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 0, Minnesota 2 at Xcel Energy Center
• The Preds were shut out for the second time this season, and for the first time on the road.
• Nashville allowed its second empty-net goal of the year with 25 seconds remaining in the final frame.
• Nashville controlled the face-off circle (55-45), led by Paul Gaustad, who won seven-of-10 face-offs (70 percent), Matt Cullen, who won 10-of-17 drams (59 percent) and David Legwand, who went eight-of-14 on the dot (57 percent).
• Eric Nystrom recorded his first fighting major of the year when he dropped the gloves with Nate Prosser at 6:19 of the third. Nystrom is tied for the team lead with 21 penalty minutes this season (Mike Fisher).
• Kevin Klein led all skaters with seven blocked shots on the night. He leads the Predators and ranks second in the League with 28 blocks on the season.
• Craig Smith posted a game-high five shots on goal. He is now tied for the team lead in the category (30).
• Rich Clune returned to the Predators lineup after sitting out the last four games. Clune recorded three hits and his second fighting major of the season.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. WINNIPEG
The Preds and Jets face-off tomorrow night for the first of two meetings in the Music City this season. The Preds have earned at least a point in nine of 10 games against the team formerly known as the Thrashers since 2005-06, going 7-1-2 in that span. Overall, Nashville is 6-2-0 against the Jets/Thrashers on home ice since the 1999-00 season, and have won three straight at Bridgestone Arena dating back to Jan. 30, 2010.
These two teams met just four days ago in Winnipeg, during the Preds first-ever trip to the Central Division’s most northern city. The Preds got goals from Eric Nystrom, Patric Hornqvist and Matt Cullen, while Carter Hutton recorded his first career win, turning aside 38-of-39 shots, to defeat the Jets, 3-1. It was also the first time the Preds had beat an opponent by more than a goal this season.
In their last meeting at Bridgestone Arena on March 24, 2012, Pekka Rinne made 24 saves and Matt Halischuk – now with the Jets – Gabriel Bourque and Shea Weber all scored to lead the Predators to a 3-1 victory over the Jets.
Colin Wilson, who calls Winnipeg home during the offseason, has four points (2g-2a) in four career games against Atlanta/Winnipeg… Matt Cullen has 22 points (6g-16a) in 37 career games against the Thrashers/Jets… Viktor Stalberg has three points (2g-1a) in four career games against Atlanta/Winnipeg… Preds prospect and 2012-13 Canadian Hockey League scoring champion, Brendan Leipsic (fourth round, 2012) hails from Winnipeg… Nashville’s Assistant Coach Phil Housley was better than a point-per-game player for the previous incarnation of the Jets from 1990-93, when he posted 259 points (64g-195a) in 232 games. Housley still holds Jets’ records for most points (97, 1992-93) and assists (79, 1992-93) by a defenseman in a single season during Teemu Selanne’s recording setting rookie goal scoring campaign (76).
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS VS. WINNIPEG
• Gabriel Bourque posted a career-high five shots on goal against the Jets on March 24, 2012.
• Matt Cullen attempted his first career penalty shot against Atlanta on Nov. 4, 2001 (Milan Hnilicka).
• Mike Fisher scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 31, 1999 vs. Atlanta (Damian Rhodes).
• Matt Hendricks made his NHL debut against Atlanta on March 10, 2009, and scored his last goal on April 23, 2013 vs. Winnipeg.
• Carter Hutton recorded his first career win against the Jets on Oct. 20, 2013.
15th ANNIVERSARY MOMENTS
October 25, 2007 – Dan Ellis records a shutout in his first start for the Predators
After going more than three years between NHL starts, Dan Ellis was spectacular in goal against the Atlanta Thrashers in his first start for the Predators on Oct. 25, 2007 at Bridgestone Arena. Ellis’ last start came in a Dallas Stars uniform on February 18, 2004 in a win over the Los Angeles Kings. Three years later, in just his fourth NHL appearance since then, Ellis stopped all 20 shots he faced and led the Predators to a 3-0 win. Ellis went on to win his first six decisions as a Predator and emerged as the team's go-to goalie as the club made its fourth consecutive playoff appearance in 2008.
The win not only snapped a six-game losing skid, but sent the Predators on a streak which saw them go 8-1-1 in their next 10 games.
The Predator’s offense aided Ellis with an evenly distributed attack scoring a goal in each period. Jerred Smithson’s first period goal ended a two-game scoreless streak for the team.
October 25, 2005: Preds win eighth straight to open 05-06 season
After the NHL lockout year of 2004-05, Nashville returned to the ice in the fall of 2005 with a vengeance. The Preds won their first eight games of the season, claimed points in nine straight and posted an overall record of 8-1-1 in October, 2005. Not only was the eight-game run a franchise record for the longest winning streak, at the time it tied the Predators for the third-best start in NHL history, behind only the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres.
The stretch included three shootout victories against Western Conference foes Anaheim, Phoenix and St. Louis, and three additional one-goal wins against San Jose (twice) and Colorado. The Predators were most clutch during crunch time, outscoring their opponent 11-4 in the third period.
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