RANGERS (11-11-0) VS. PREDATORS (11-9-2)
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
RED, WHITE AND BLUE IN TORONTO
Matt Cullen, Craig Smith and Colin Wilson led the way for Nashville as they combined to post nine of the Preds 12 points on Thursday night in Toronto. The three forwards were part of an outing that saw American-born players post 10 of the 12 points in Canada’s largest city.
• With a goal and three assists, Cullen recorded his third career four-point game and his first since Dec. 15, 2002 against Pittsburgh (4a). The Virginia, Minn., native has six points (2g-4a) in his last three games.
• With three points (2g-1a) on Thursday night, Smith moved into second in team scoring (6g-8a-14pts) with his second three-point outing in his last three games. It was the second two-goal game of his career and the sixth three-point game of Smith’s 138-game career. It was also his third multi-point game of the year and his 10th of his career. Nashville is now 5-0-0 when Smith scores this season.
• Wilson recorded his first points (2a) since a four-point outing (2g-2a) on Nov. 6 in Colorado. The Greenwich, Conn., native’s two assists moved him into double-digit scoring for the year (3g-8a-11pts).
• Seth Jones started things off for Nashville as he converted the first of two power-play goals for the Preds. Jones has two points (1g-1a) in his last three outings, and now ranks third among all first-year players in power-play points (3g-2a-5pts).
Since returning from paternal leave, which caused him to miss Nashville’s game on Nov. 12 on Long Island, Gabriel Bourque has recorded a point in all four of Nashville’s games (2g-2a). His current four-game point streak is the longest of his career, surpassing his previous three-game streak (twice, last March 12-15, 2013 (3g)). The Rimouski, Que., native has seven points (3g-4a) on the year.
After converting two of their power-play chances on Thursday night in Toronto, the Preds have now scored at least a power-play goal in five of their last eight periods. Thursday’s game was also the fifth time this season, and second in the last three outings, the Predators have scored multiple power-play goals in a game.
Nashville’s power play has now jumped into the League’s Top 10 (seventh, 21.6 percent), while its home power play remains one of the League’s best (fourth, 28 percent). David Legwand (2g-6a-8pts) and Shea Weber (5g-3a-8pts) are tied for the team in power-play points this season.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 4, Toronto 2 at Air Canada Centre
• With the win, Nashville has now posted its first three-game winning streak since of the season.
• Thursday’s win was also Nashville’s second win of the season when not scoring first and first win when trailing after the first period.
• Goaltender Marek Mazanec posted his third straight win, and third of his career, turning away 24-of-26 shots on goal. The Pisek, Czech Republic native is 3-2-0 with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in six appearances.
• Nashville was dominant in the face-off circle (57-43), led by Paul Guastad (seven-of-nine, 72 percent) and Matt Cullen (nine-of-15, 60 percent).
• For the third consecutive game, the Preds penalty kill shut down one of the League’s top power-play units, holding the Maple Leafs to just five shots on two man-advantage chances. The Preds penalty kill now ranks in the top half of the League (15th, 82.7 percent).
• David Legwand has 11 points (3g-8a) in his last 10 outings to lead the team with 18 points (4g-14a) in 21 games this season. The Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., native has posted the 19th-most assists in the League this season (14). Twelve (4g-8a) of Legwand’s 18 points have come away from the Music City.
• Shea Weber became the highest scoring defenseman in franchise history (114g-188a-302pts) with his power-play goal on Tuesday night in Detroit. Weber is now tied for third among League defensemen with six goals on the year. The Preds are 6-0-0 when he finds the back of the net. Nashville’s captain ranks fourth on the team (6g-5a-11pts) and ranks among the League’s Top 25 defensemen in scoring. Weber has led Nashville in ice time in 15 of the last 16 games to rank sixth in the League in the category (26:39).
• Patric Hornqvist has eight points (3g-5a) in his last 12 games to lead the team in goals and move into third in team scoring (6g-7a-13pts).
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (23:52). The Frisco, Texas native is tied for 13th in points among first-year players (3g-6a-9pts), ninth in goals (3), 16th in shots on goal (32) and second in blocked shots (39), while ranking third in power-play points and power-play goals (2g-3a-5pts) among rookies.
• Kevin Klein leads the team and ranks eighth in the League with 54 blocked shots.
• When the Preds score first they hold onto the lead, going 9-1-2 in those contests this season.
• Six of Nashville’s 11 wins this season have come by one goal – it is 6-0-2 in one-goal games.
• Nashville is 11-1-1 when scoring more than one goal, and 9-0-1 when scoring three or more goals this season.
• The Predators are tied with Dallas and New Jersey for fewest home games played this season (eight).
• Nashville has played 14 road games this season – only Anaheim (15) has played more games away from their home venue.
• The Preds have outscored their opposition 6-1 in the second period and 11-3 in the final 40 minutes in their last three games.
• 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 this season (four).
• Including Saturday night, six of Nashville’s next nine games are against Eastern Conference opponents. The Preds are 58-37-16 against the Eastern Conference since 2005-06, 34-20-9 vs. the East since 2009-10, and an even 5-5-0 in inter-conference matchups this season.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
Nashville has posted a 5-2-1 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 197 home victories, fourth most in the NHL in that span and just two 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 36 of their last 45 home games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. Los Angeles.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators rank second in the League in team face-off win percentage this season (55 percent). Nashville has been better than 50 percent in the face-off circle in 19 of its 22 games this season.
Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who has won 238-of-386 face-offs this season (61.6 percent) to lead the League in the category among players who have taken at least 250 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 (fifth, 58.1 percent), winning 154-of-265 draws on the season.
STORYLINES VS. N.Y. RANGERS
The Nashville Predators and New York Rangers will meet on Bridgestone Arena ice for just the eighth time, and first since Nov. 27, 2010. It is just the sixth game between the two in the last six full seasons. In 16 all-time games against the Rangers, the Predators have posted a 7-7-(2)-0 record.
These teams met at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 17, 2012, as the Blueshirts shutout the Preds on home ice. Dan Girardi, John Mitchell and Ryan Callahan all scored for the Rangers.
The last meeting between the Predators and Rangers on Bridgestone Arena ice came on Nov. 27, 2010, as Colin Wilson opened the scoring for Nashville just 5:10 into the opening frame. The Preds would hold the lead until Callahan put a shot past Pekka Rinne with less than seven minutes remaining to tie the game. The score would remain tied through the overtime period, before Erik Christensen scored on the first shot of the shootout the down the Preds, 2-1.
Colin Wilson has two goals in three career games against the Blueshirts. Wilson’s father – Carey – spent two seasons with the Rangers from 1988-90, posting 81 points (30g-51a) and 102 penalty minutes in 82 games… Matt Cullen has 15 points (4g-11a) in 30 career games against the Rangers. He played one season with the Rangers (2006-07), posting 41 points (16g-25a) in 80 games… David Legwand has six points (1g-5a) in 12 games against New York.
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