OILERS (7-16-2) vs. PREDATORS (13-10-2)
Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates
RACKING UP POINTS
After winning five of their last six games, the Nashville Predators have several players that are riding point streaks:
• Since becoming a father for the first time earlier this month, Gabriel Bourque has posted seven points (3g-4a) in his last seven games. Bourque tied his career high with two assists on Wednesday night in Columbus, giving him four points (4a) in his last two games against the Blue Jackets.
• Nick Spaling has four points (2g-2a) in his last four games after posting his first multiple-point game (1g-1a) of the season. Nashville is 24-5-1 all-time when he finds the back of the net.
• With his third multi-point game (1g-1a) in his last six games, Matt Cullen has posted nine points (3g-6a) in his last six games. The Virginia, Minn., native is now tied with Patric Hornqvist for third in team scoring (5g-8a).
• Craig Smith has posted four points (1g-3a) in his last four games, and has seven points (3g-4a) in his last six outings. Smith ranks second in team scoring (6g-9a-15pts) and shots (68).
• With his goal in Columbus on Wednesday night, David Legwand has 13 points (4g-9a) in his last 13 outings to lead the team with 20 points (5g-15a) in 25 games. Thirteen (5g-8a) of Legwand’s 20 points have come away from the Music City.
• Mike Fisher has goals in back-to-back games after posting a power-play goal in Columbus.
• Viktor Stalberg has points (2a) in back-to-back games, and has four points (1g-3a) in his last six games after posting two points (1g-1a) in his first 13 games.
With his second shutout in his last five starts, rookie goaltender Marek Mazanec has not allowed more than two goals in a game since Nov. 15 – a span of six consecutive starts. The Pisek, Czech Republic native is 5-3-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. His goals-against average ranks 16th in the League and second among rookie goaltenders behind Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen, while his save percentage is also good for second among rookies and 12th among League netminders.
With seven goals on the season, Shea Weber is tied 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.
• The Sicamous, B.C., native ranks fifth 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 19 games to rank sixth in the League in the category (26:33).
• Patric Hornqvist, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, has eight points (3g-5a) in his last 13 games to move into second on the team in goals and third in team scoring (6g-7a-13pts).
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (23:26). The Frisco, Texas native is tied for 14th in points among first-year players (3g-6a-9pts), 11th in goals (3), 16th in shots on goal (35) and second in blocked shots (41), while ranking third in power-play goals and power-play points (2g-3a-5pts) among rookies.
• 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 22 of its 25 games. Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who has won 269-of-432 face-offs (62.3 percent) to lead the League in the category (minimum 275 draws). Matt Cullen also ranks among the League’s top face-off men (fourth, 58.4 percent), winning 173-of-296 draws.
• Kevin Klein leads the team and ranks 11th in the League with 57 blocked shots.
• When the Preds score first they hold onto the lead, going 11-1-2 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 13-1-1 when scoring more than one goal, and 11-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.
• The Predators have played the third-fewest home games (10), only Dallas and the New York Rangers have played fewer.
• Nashville has played 15 road games – only Anaheim has played more games away from their home venue.
• The Preds have outscored their opposition 8-2 in the second period and 15-6 in the final 40 minutes in their last six 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).
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 4, Columbus 0 at Nationwide Arena
• The Nashville Predators shut out an opponent for the second time in the last five games (Detroit on Nov. 19).
• Ryan Ellis set a career high with two assists in the game. It was Ellis’ first points since posting a helper against Chicago on Nov. 16.
• With his goal on Wednesday night, David Legwand has now posted 21 career goals against both the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks. Both totals are the most by any Predator against a single team. Legwand also posted a game-high five shots.
• Eric Nystrom dished out a game-high five hits. Nystrom leads the team with 63 hits on the year.
• Kevin Klein led all skaters with a +3 rating on the night. It was Klein’s first time posting a +3 rating or higher since March 21, 2013 vs. Calgary.
• Nashville held Columbus to just 19 shots on goal. It was the second time it has held an opponent to less than 20 shots (16 - N.Y. Islanders on Oct. 12).
The Preds finish up the fourth of 14 sets of back-to-backs in 2013-14 on Thursday night against Edmonton, after shutting out the Blue Jackets on Wednesday night in Columbus. Nashville’s 14 sets of two-games-in-two-nights are five more than a season ago; the Preds are 2-2-0 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.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
Nashville has posted a 6-3-1 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 198 home victories, for the fourth most in the NHL in that span and just two wins 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 37 of their last 48 home games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. Los Angeles.
STOUT SPECIAL TEAMS
Nashville’s special teams continues to be a strong point for the Predators this season. The Preds have scored six man-advantage goals in their last six outings, including two multiple power-play goal periods.
• Nashville’s power play ranks in the League’s Top 10 (eighth, 21.5 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 seven outings.
• The Preds have held the opposition power play scoreless in six straight games. It is the second time through 24 games the penalty kill has gone six or more games without allowing a power-play goal (seven games from Oct. 12-24 & six games from Nov. 16-27)
• Nashville’s penalty kill has held the opposition scoreless on their last 16 times shorthanded, last allowing a power-play goal on Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh.
• The Preds have only surrendered three power-play goals on 32 times shorthanded in their last nine outings (93.7 percent success rate).
• The Preds penalty kill has allowed the 10th-fewest power-play goals (13), and ranks 10th in the League (84 percent).
STORYLINES vs. EDMONTON
Nashville hosts Edmonton on Thursday for the only time in 2013-14, while Nashville will travel to Edmonton twice – Jan. 26 and March 18, 2014. Nashville holds the 15-11-3 advantage on home ice, and has not lost to the Oilers at Bridgestone Arena since March 20, 2012. A season ago, Nashville held the 2-1 edge in the three-game series, which was played in an 18-day span.
Nashville began the series with a 6-0 drubbing of Edmonton on March 8, as Colin Wilson posted a career-high four points (2g-2a), Shea Weber had three assists and Pekka Rinne made 24 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Rich Clune, Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand also scored for Nashville.
The Preds only trip to Rexall Place came on March 17, as Weber and Roman Josi both scored, but Edmonton’s shorthanded goal midway through the third period proved to be the difference maker, as the Oilers downed the Preds, 3-2.
In the third and final meeting on March 25, Edmonton bookended three straight Nashville goals, as the Preds skated to a 3-2 on Bridgestone Arena ice.
Weber has seven points (2g-5a) in his last six outings against the Oilers. Weber’s .80 points per game against Edmonton for his career (9g-12a-21pts, 26 gp) is second only to his output against Columbus for the highest against a single team… Legwand has 34 points (14g-20a) in 47 career games vs. the Oilers… Hornqvist has posted 11 points (7g-4a) in 15 career games vs. them.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS VS. EDMONTON
• Victor Bartley made his NHL debut against the Oilers on March 8, 2013.
• Rich Clune made his NHL debut against Edmonton on Feb. 11, 2010 (as a member of the Los Angeles Kings).
• Eric Nystrom tied his career-high with two assists against the Oilers on Jan. 18, 2011.
• Shea Weber posted a career-high three assists on March 8, 2013 against Edmonton.
• Colin Wilson made his NHL debut against Edmonton on October 12, 2009.
THE PREDS ON THANKSGIVING DAY
The Predators are the only American team in action tonight, and it marks the fourth time the team has played on Turkey Day. All three previous games has seen Nashville come out victorious on home ice.
In 2005, the Preds scored four goals in the first 30:17 and hung on for a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Scottie Upshall, Paul Kariya, Steve Sullivan and Adam Hall provided the goals, while Marek Zidlicky recorded three assists. Tomas Vokoun made 35 saves to pick up the victory. The win was part of a stretch from Nov. 2-Dec. 7 that saw the Preds post a 10-2-2 record.
In 2006, Nashville used a 6-0 beat down of the Vancouver Canucks on Thanksgiving to start a four-game winning streak, helping the team go a staggering 17-5-2 during the first two months of the season. The Preds scored two in the first, four in the second, and received the only split shutout in franchise history – Vokoun played the first two periods, stopping 21 shots, before giving way to Chris Mason, who turned aside all 13 he faced in the third.
Nashville improved to 3-0-0 on Thanksgiving in 2007 by defeating the rival Detroit Red Wings in come-from-behind fashion, 3-2. A goal by the Wings at 18:36 of the second period put the visitors up 2-1, but Nashville scored in the final minute of the second to knot the game heading into the final 20. Then with just 2:22 expired in the third, Radek Bonk notched a power-play goal and the Preds held on to beat the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, 3-2.
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