PREDATORS (12-10-2) at BLUE JACKETS (9-12-3)
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
With his empty-net goal on Monday night, Shea Weber moved into a tie with Erik Karlsson (OTT), Torey Krug (BOS), and Michael Stone (PHX) for the goal-scoring lead among blueliners (7). Nashville’s captain is the only defenseman in the League to lead his team in goal scoring.
• The Preds are 7-0-0 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• Weber’s empty netter was just the second by a Predator this season (Gabriel Bourque, Nov. 6 at Colorado).
• Weber tied his season-high four shots on goal, added eight hits and three blocked shots – all team highs for Nashville on Monday night. He is now tied with Eric Nystrom for the team lead in hits (58).
• The Sicamous, B.C., native ranks fourth on the team (7g-5a-12pts), and among the League’s Top 20 in defensemen scoring.
• Weber has led Nashville in ice time in 16 of the last 18 games to rank third in the League in the category (26:42).
• With an assist on Monday night, David Legwand has 12 points (3g-9a) in his last 12 outings to lead the team with 19 points (4g-15a) in 24 games. Twelve (4g-8a) of Legwand’s 19 points have come away from the Music City.
• Patric Hornqvist, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, has eight points (3g-5a) in his last 13 games to second on the team in goals and third in team scoring (6g-7a-13pts). He is out for Wednesday’s contest.
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (23:38). The Frisco, Texas native is tied for 14th in points among first-year players (3g-6a-9pts), 11th in goals (3), 17th in shots on goal (33) and second in blocked shots (41), while ranking third in power-play goals and power-play points (2g-3a-5pts) among rookies.
• Kevin Klein leads the team and ranks 11th in the League with 56 blocked shots.
• When the Preds score first they hold onto the lead, going 10-1-2 in those contests.
• Six of Nashville’s 12 wins this season have come by one goal – it is 6-0-2 in one-goal games.
• Nashville is 12-1-1 when scoring more than one goal, and 10-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.
• The Predators have played the third-fewest home games (10), only Dallas, New Jersey and the New York Rangers have played fewer.
• Nashville has played 14 road games – only Anaheim (16), New Jersey (15) and the New York Rangers (15) have played more games away from their home venue.
• The Preds have outscored their opposition 6-2 in the second period and 12-6 in the final 40 minutes in their last five 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).
• The Preds are 58-38-16 against the Eastern Conference since 2005-06, 34-21-9 vs. the East since 2009-10, and 5-6-0 in inter-conference matchups in 2013-14.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 4, Phoenix Coyotes 2 at Bridgestone Arena
• Nick Spaling's goal was the quickest by a Predator from the opening face-off this season, coming at the 1:02 mark of the game (previously, 2:28, by Gabriel Bourque on Nov. 15 at Pittsburgh). Spaling has points in three of his last five games (2g-1a), and Nashville is 23-5-1 all-time when he finds the back of the net.
• Mike Fisher connected with Colin Wilson and Eric Nystrom for a goal at 8:22 of the first period. It was Fisher’s fourth goal of the season, while the assist was Wilson’s third in his last three games and Nystrom’s first point since Nov. 2.
• Gabriel Bourque also netted his fourth goal of the season at 18:27 mark of the first period. It was Bourque’s fifth point (3g-2a) in his last six games. Those six games have come since Bourque became a father for the first time on Nov. 14.
• Viktor Stalberg picked up an assist on Bourque’s goal and has three points (1g-2a) in his last five.
• Rookie goaltender Marek Mazanec has not allowed more than two goals in a game since Nov. 15 – a span of five consecutive starts. The Pisek, Czech Republic native is 4-3-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. His goals-against average and save percentage are good for second among rookie netminders behind Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen.
• Nashville scored first for the 13th time this season (10-1-2).
• The Predators improved to 8-0-1 when leading after the first period, and 12-1-1 when scoring more than one goal.
• It was the third time that Nashville scored three goals in the opening period (last on Oct. 31 at Phoenix), tying a season high.
• Nashville has allowed just one first-period goal the last five games.
The Preds open the fourth of 14 sets of back-to-backs in 2013-14 on Wednesday night against Columbus, before taking on Edmonton in a Thanksgiving night tilt. 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 2-1-0 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.
STOUT SPECIAL TEAMS
Nashville’s special teams continues to be a strong point for the Predators this season. The Preds scored five man-advantage goals in their last five outings, including two multiple power-play goal periods.
• Monday night was the first time the Preds have not been awarded a power play this season.
• Nashville’s power play ranks in the League’s Top 10 (ninth, 21 percent), while its home power play remains one of the League’s best (fifth, 25.9 percent).
Nashville’s penalty kill has stymied some of the League’s top power-play units in their last six outings, including the League’s eighth-best power-play unit (Phoenix) on Monday night.
• The Preds have held the opposition power play scoreless in five straight games. It is the second time through 24 games the penalty kill has gone five or more games without allowing a power-play goal (seven games from Oct. 12-24 & five games from Nov. 16-25)
• Nashville’s penalty kill has held the opposition scoreless on their last 14 times shorthanded, last allowing a power-play goal on Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh.
• The Preds have only surrendered three power-play goals on 30 times shorthanded in their last nine outings (90 percent success rate).
• The Preds penalty kill has allowed the 10th-fewest power-play goals (13), and ranks 12th in the League (83.5 percent), while their home penalty kill continues to improve (81.8 percent, 20th).
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators rank second in the League in team face-off win percentage this season (55.1 percent). Nashville has been better than 50 percent in the face-off circle in 21 of its 24 games.
Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who has won 260-of-419 face-offs (62 percent) to lead the League in the category (minimum 275 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 (fourth, 58.5 percent), winning 168-of-287 draws.
STORYLINES vs. COLUMBUS
Wednesday night marks the first time the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets will face-off as inter-conference foes rather than intra-divisional foes in 13 seasons. A season ago, the Predators posted a 1-3-1 record against the Blue Jackets, but are 50-17-7 against Columbus all-time and 20-12-3 at the Blue Jackets’ home rink, including wins in three of its last five trips to Columbus.
These teams last met on April 27, 2013, in the final game of the 2012-13 season, as the Blue Jackets downed the Preds 3-1 at Nationwide Arena. Shea Weber scored at the 8:29 mark of the second period to give the Preds the lead, but goals from Brandon Dubinsky, Jack Johnson and Cam Atkinson in the final 10 minutes of play sealed the win for Columbus.
Weber has 34 (10g-24a) in 41 career games against Columbus, his highest total against any team… David Legwand has 20 goals against Columbus, the second highest total by a player against a single team in club history. He has 47 points (20g-27a) in 61 career games against the Jackets… Mike Fisher has 10 points (8g-2a) in 13 games against the Blue Jackets since joining the Preds.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS vs. COLUMBUS
Gabriel Bourque posted a career-high two assists against the Blue Jackets on March 23, 2013.
Roman Josi fired a career-high six shots on goal on April 4, 2013 vs. Columbus.
Kevin Klein fired a career-high six shots on goal on April 4, 2013 vs. Columbus
David Legwand posted a career-high nine shots on goal on Nov. 23, 2005 at Columbus
Craig Smith made his NHL debut and scored his first career goal at Columbus on Oct. 7, 2011.
Viktor Stalberg posted the lone hat trick of his career against the Blue Jackets on Jan. 10, 2012.
Shea Weber posted a career-high four points (1g-3a) on Oct. 18, 2008 vs. Columbus.
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
November 27, 2002: Andreas Johansson nets hat trick vs. San Jose
Early in his first season with the Predators, Andreas Johansson made quite an impression on the Nashville faithful by notching the fourth hat trick in team history, and lone three-goal performance of the 2002-03 season, in a 4-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks at Bridgestone Arena.
''I just told myself to keep being aggressive around the net,'' Johansson said following the performance.
''I'm not going to lie to you, because every time you get the second goal early in the game, you think about the hat trick. But the game was so tight and you can't press it.”
The Predators dominated the shots-on-goal department, outshooting San Jose 45-24 for the game and 21-6 in the final period. Johansson scored once in each period, with two of the three coming in the final 75 seconds of a period. Scott Walker set-up Johansson’s first two markers, and collected a third helper on Nashville’s only other goal – an Andy Delmore power-play tally.
The Predators, who had struggled out to a 2-10-4-4 record, used the performance as a rallying point, winning four of their next six games.
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