PREDATORS (13-13-3) at CAPITALS (14-12-2)
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
LEADERS OF THE PACK
• Fisher pocketed his seventh goal of the season on Thursday night against Carolina. It was Fisher’s fourth goal in six games. The goal also moved him into a tie with Weber in points (7g-5a-12pts) to rank sixth on the team.
• The Peterborough, Ont., native also leads all Preds forwards in ice time (18:13) and shooting percentage (14.9 percent), while ranking second in hits (47).
• 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.
• Weber has led Nashville in ice time in 16 of the last 20 games he’s played to rank seventh in the League in the category (26:09).
• Nashville’s captain ranks second on the team in hits (62) and third in blocked shots (54).
• Since becoming a father for the first time on Nov. 13, Gabriel Bourque has posted eight points (3g-5a) in 11 games, including four points (1g-3a) in his last six.
• Matt Cullen has posted nine points (3g-6a), including three multi-point outings, in his last 10 games. He is one of only three players 37 years old or older to play for Nashville (Hal Gill and Martin Gelinas).
• Patric Hornqvist has two points (2a) in three games since returning to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury, and 10 points (3g-7a) in his last 15 games to move into a tie for second in goals and team scoring (6g-9a-15pts). The Sollentuna, Sweden native also leads the team with 77 shots.
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (23:56), nearly three minutes more than the next closest rookie (Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba). With an assist on Thursday night, the Frisco, Texas native is tied for 15th among first-year players in points (3g-7a-10pts) and goals (3), 12th in assists, 13th in shots on goal (44), and first in blocked shots (55), while ranking third in power-play goals and power-play points (2g-3a-5pts) among rookies.
• Kevin Klein, who returned to the lineup on Thursday after missing two games with a foot injury, leads the team and ranks 15th in the League with 60 blocked shots.
• David Legwand has 13 points (4g-9a) in his last 17 outings to lead the team with 20 points (5g-15a) in 29 games. Thirteen (5g-8a) of Legwand’s 20 points have come away from the Music City.
• Marek Mazanec, who was recently named Rookie of the Month for November, is 5-6-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average, a .922 save percentage and two shutouts. He ranks among the League leaders (minimum 10 appearances) in both goals-against average (14th) and save percentage (15th). The Pisek, Czech Republic native has also played the second-fewest minutes (728:04) among goaltenders with multiple shutouts this season (2).
• Craig Smith has seven points (3g-4a) in his last 10 outings. Smith ranks second in team scoring (6g-9a-15pts) and shots (73).
• Colin Wilson has five points (2g-3a) in his last eight outings to rank fourth in team scoring (5g-9a-14pts).
• When the Preds score first they hold onto the lead, going 11-1-2 in those contests.
• Six of Nashville’s 13 wins this season have come by one goal – it is 6-0-3 in one-goal games.
• Nashville is 13-2-2 when scoring more than one goal, and 11-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.
• The Preds’ penalty kill ranks 10th in the League (84.4 percent), and has allowed the seventh-fewest power-play goals (15). Nashville’s road penalty kill ranks among the League’s best (ninth; 85.4 percent).
• Nashville’s penalty kill has allowed just two goals on their last 30 times shorthanded, and have only surrendered five power-play goals on 46 times shorthanded in their last 13 outings (89.1 percent).
• The Preds have not allowed a shorthanded goal since March 21, 2013, when Calgary scored two shorthanded goals – a span of 49 games. Nashville is the only team in the League not to have allowed a shorthanded goal this season.
• 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 2, Carolina 5 at Bridgestone Arena
• The Predators had gone three games without recording a multi-goal period until Thursday night’s second period (two goals).
• Viktor Stalberg ended a personal eight-game scoring drought with his marker at 2:41 of the second period, giving him five points (2g-3a) in his last 10 outings.
• Roman Josi totaled six blocked shots in the game – nearly as many the entire Hurricanes’ squad (eight). Josi also led Nashville in shots on goal (three; tied with Fisher and Stalberg) and total shot attempts (six).
• Rookie defenseman Seth Jones led the Predators in ice time with 24:40. Jones has now played more than 23 minutes in four consecutive games, and in 18 of his 29 games this season.
• Defensemen Kevin Klein (five) and Bartley (four) combined for nine of the team’s 13 hits.
• Nashville totaled 25 blocked shots on the night – 17 more than the Hurricanes.
• It was the first time in four games that Nashville has been limited to less than 30 shots.
SOLID IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators are tied for the League lead in team face-off win percentage this season (54.5 percent). Nashville has been better than 50 percent in the face-off circle in 25 of its 29 games. Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who has won 288-of-475 face-offs (60.6 percent), to lead the League in the category (minimum 350 draws). Matt Cullen also ranks among the League’s top face-off men (seventh, 57.3 percent), winning 201-of-351 draws.
STORYLINES VS. WASHINGTON
The Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals square off in the Nation’s Capital for the first time since Dec. 20, 2011, when the Capitals scored two goals in the first and a pair in the third to bookend the lone Nashville goal. These teams have met six times since the start of the 2008-09 season, with the Caps winning four of the six games in either overtime or a shootout. The Preds are an even 6-6-(1)-4 in 17 all-time meetings with the Caps, but have posted a 2-4-(0)-2 in Washington D.C.
Matt Cullen leads all Preds skaters with 28 points (9g-19a) in 43 career games against the Caps… Mike Fisher has 21 points (10g-11a) in 33 career games against Washington, including the only hat trick of his career on Dec. 29, 2007 (Olaf Kolzig)… Shea Weber has six points (2g-4a) in seven career games against the Capitals… Matt Hendricks spent the previous three seasons with the Capitals, posting 42 points (18g-24a) in 203 games. A season ago, he led Washington in penalty minutes (73), ranked second in blocked shots (31) and third in hits (93).
Head Coach Barry Trotz will coach his 1,144th game on Saturday, and is one of only four coaches with more than 1,000 games coached with a single team. He is currently third behind only Al Arbour (1,500, NYI) and Lindy Ruff (1,165 BUF). Trotz has racked up 532 wins through 1,143 games and is within 10 victories for fourth on the games won with a single team list (Billy Reay, 542).
Trotz spent five seasons (1992-97) as the head coach of the Capitals' American Hockey League affiliate Baltimore Skipjacks and Portland Pirates. He was named head coach of the Skipjacks in 1992 after one season as an assistant coach. Following the franchise’s relocation to Portland, Maine, he led the Pirates to two Calder Cup Finals appearances over the team’s first four seasons. In 1995, Trotz coached Portland to a Calder Cup Championship and a league-best 43-27-10 record and was named the AHL’s Coach of the Year. In 2006, he was inducted into the Pirates’ Hall of Fame.
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile began his management career in 1982, when he was named general manager of the Washington Capitals. For the 1982-83 season, Poile took the reins of a Washington team that had never made the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In his 15 years there, the Capitals advanced to the postseason 14 times. The 1997-98 Capitals, largely comprised of players Poile acquired, advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. During his 15-year tenure, the Caps compiled a record of 596-454-124 (.559), ranking among the NHL's top-five teams during that span.
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
December 7, 2007 – Local ownership takes the helm
Predators Holdings LLC., completed its purchase of the Nashville Predators and Powers Management (the company that operates Bridgestone Arena) for $193 million from Craig Leipold and took over the day-to-day operation of the Predators and Bridgestone Arena. The purchase ended months of uncertainty and cemented the team’s future in Nashville.
“On behalf of the ownership group, we are thrilled to complete the sale,” said David Freeman, former chairman of Predators Holdings LLC. “We look forward to contributing to the Predators’ success on and off the ice and solidifying the franchise’s future in Nashville.”
The NHL Board of Governors approved the sale on November 27, 2007 to the ownership group that included local executives in finance, health care, and private business. The members were current Chairman Thomas Cigarran, Herb Fritch, Christopher Cigarran, Joel and Holly Dobberpuhl, DeWitt Thompson V, John Thompson, Warren Woo and Freeman. They’ve since been joined by Dewitt Thompson IV and W. Brett Wilson.
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