BLACKHAWKS (13-2-4) at PREDATORS (8-9-2)
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
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators rank third in the League in team face-off win percentage this season (54.6 percent). Nashville has been better than 50 percent in the face-off circle in 16 of its 19 games this season.
Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who has won 213-of-352 face-offs this season (60.5 percent) to lead the League in the category among players who have taken at least 200 draws. The 6-5, 220-pound center has ranked among the League’s Top 10 in the category in each of the last four seasons. Matt Cullen also ranks among the League’s top face-off men (57.1 percent), winning 128-of-224 draws on the season.
• Shea Weber has led Nashville in ice time in 12 of the last 13 games to rank fifth in the League in the category (26:35). Weber’s four goals, all of which have come in the first period, are tied for fifth among League defensemen. The Preds are 4-0-0 when he finds the back of the net. Nashville’s captain (112g-187a-299pts) is now one point from becoming the fourth player in franchise history to post 300 points with the team (David Legwand, Martin Erat, Kimmo Timonen). The Sicamous, B.C., native is also just two points from tying Timonen as the highest-scoring defenseman in club history (301).
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (24:17), and ranks among the League’s Top 25 in the category. His average time on ice is nearly three minutes more than the next closest rookie (Jacob Trouba). The Frisco, Texas native is tied for 13th in points among first-year players (2g-5a-7pts), while ranking second in power-play points (1g-3a), eighth in power-play goals (1) and 18th in shots on goal (26) among rookies.
• David Legwand has eight points (3g-5a) in his last seven outings, and has a team-best 15 points (4g-11a) in 18 games this year. Eleven (4g-7a) of Legwand’s 15 points this season have come away from the Music City.
• Patric Hornqvist has six points (2g-4a) in his last nine games to lead the team in goals and move into second in team scoring (5g-6a-11pts).
• Kevin Klein leads the team and ranks third in the League with 52 blocked shots.
• With 54 hits on the year, Eric Nystrom is tied for 17th in the League in the category.
• When the Preds score first they hold onto the lead, going 7-1-2 in those contests this season.
• Six of Nashville’s eight wins this season have come by one goal – it is 6-0-2 in one-goal games.
• Nashville is 7-0-1 when scoring three or more goals this season.
• Nashville’s home power play is ranked fifth in the League after converting five of 20 man-advantage opportunities this season (25 percent).
• The Predators are tied with Dallas, Edmonton, New Jersey and the New York Rangers for the fewest home games played in League this season (seven).
• Nashville’s has played 12 road game this season – only Anaheim, Edmonton and Vancouver have played more games away from their home venues.
• The Predators have had seven rookies appear in the lineup this season. They had eight rookies appear last season, and 11 during the 2011-12 campaign. Nashville is also one of two teams in the NHL to field multiple teenagers in its lineup (Filip Forsberg, 19 and Seth Jones, 19), only Buffalo has had more teenagers on its roster (four).
The Preds close out the third of 14 sets of back-to-backs in 2013-14 on Saturday against Chicago, after losing 4-1 on Friday night at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Nashville’s 14 sets of two-games-in-two-nights are five more than a season ago; the Preds are 1-2-0 in the opening game and 1-1-0 on the back end of back-to-back tilts this season. The Preds will play one game at home and one on the road (or vice versa) seven times in 2013-14, they’ll play two road games in two days six times and on one occasion they will hit the Bridgestone Arena ice on back-to-back days.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
Nashville has posted a 4-2-1 record at home in 2013-14. The Predators have been one of the League’s best teams on home ice since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, compiling 196 home victories, fourth most in the NHL in that span (tied with Anaheim) and just three behind Vancouver for third. 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 44 home games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. Los Angeles.
A FRANCHISE RECORD ROAD TRIP
On Friday night, the Nashville Predators closed out a franchise record tying seven-game road swing in Pittsburgh; the Predators also played seven straight on the road earlier this year from Jan.22-Feb. 5, 2013, and first played seven straight on the road from Oct. 30-Nov. 12, 2002. The trip lasted 17 days, the longest stretch away from the Music City in franchise history, and saw the team go 2-4-1 in visits to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Colorado, Winnipeg, New Jersey, New York and Pittsburgh.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 1, Pittsburgh 4 at Consol Energy Center
• Nashville posted the first goal of the game for the first time in three games, as Gabriel Bourque tipped in a Kevin Klein shot. It was Bourque’s second goal of the season, and Klein’s first point/assist since April 23, 2013 vs. Calgary.
• Nick Spaling led the Predators in the face-off circle after winning six-of-nine draws on the night (67 percent).
• Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand accounted for seven of Nashville’s 18 shots on goal. Hornqvist (4) led the team in shots on goal in four straight games, and he leads the team with 58 shots on goal this season. Legwand tied his season-high with three shots on goal.
STORYLINES vs. CHICAGO
The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks open their five-game 2013-14 season series on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. Despite not beating Chicago on home ice since Feb. 14, 2012, the Predators hold a 21-15-6 mark all-time against the Blackhawks in Music City.
These teams last met at Bridgestone Arena on April 6, 2013, as Bryan Bickell’s goal just 5:31 into the first period stood as the game’s lone goal. Pekka Rinne turned away 29-of-30 shots in the loss.
David Legwand has 11 points (3g-8a) in his last 11 games against the Hawks. He has 58 career points (21g-37a) against Chicago – more points, goals and assists than any other player against any team in franchise history… Patric Hornqvist (4g-4a-8pts, 8gp) and Mike Fisher (2g-4a-6pts, 6gp) are both producing at a point-per-game clip against Chicago since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign… Viktor Stalberg played the previous three seasons with the Blackhawks, posting 90 points (43g-47a) in 203 games, and winning the 2013 Stanley Cup with them.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS vs. CHICAGO
• Victor Barley recorded a career-high two assists on April 19, 2013 at Chicago.
• Matt Hendricks tallied his first NHL goal on Oct. 10, 2009 at Chicago (Cristobal Huet).
• Carter Hutton made his NHL debut with Chicago on April 27, 2013 vs. St. Louis.
• Kevin Klein posted his first NHL goal on Jan. 26, 2007 at Chicago (Nikolai Khabibulin).
• David Legwand recorded the first of two career hat tricks on Jan. 20, 2007 vs. Chicago.
• Shea Weber posted his most recent of nine-career two-goal games on March 31, 2012 vs. Chicago.
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
November 18, 1999: Timonen converts first penalty shot in Predators history
Fans that visited Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 18, 1999 to catch the Montreal Canadiens in only their second visit to the Music City saw a little bit of everything from the home team. Nashville scored two shorthanded goals, a power-play goal, and the first penalty-shot goal in team history en route to a 6-1 victory in a fracas that also included 16 penalties totaling 58 minutes.
The penalty-shot opportunity was the first in Nashville’s franchise history. Nashville netminders had faced two penalty shots during the team’s inaugural season of 1998-99, but it wasn’t until the team’s 99th game that the Preds got a turn. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen was dragged down from behind by Montreal winger Brian Savage while on a shorthanded breakaway. On his one-on-one attempt against Jeff Hackett, Timonen deked right and lifted a backhander over the sprawling Habs netminder to give Nashville a 3-1 lead.
"It was a weird feeling," Timonen said. "I was so happy yet so nervous. I never took a penalty shot at any level before. I didn't know I was going to the backhand when I took off. When the goalie came at me, I decided to go backhand."
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