BLACKHAWKS (24-7-5) at PREDATORS (16-14-3)
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Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates
EUROPEANS CHIP IN
• The Sollentuna, Sweden native ranks second in team scoring (7g-10a-17pts), including nine points (5g-4a) on home ice, while he leads the team with 90 shots.
• Josi recorded his second goal of the season en route to First Star honors on Saturday night against San Jose. The goal gives him five points (2g-3a) during a a four-game point streak (2g-3a, Dec. 7-14), one shy of his career high and tied for the longest point streak by a Predator this season.
• The Bern, Switzerland native has led the team in ice time in two of the last four games, and ranks second on the team and among the League’s Top 25 defensemen in the category (24:35).
• Stalberg posted his second multi-point game (1g-1a) of the season on Saturday night, including the game-winning goal at 17:21 of the final frame. It was his first game winner of the season. The effort gives Stalberg four points (2g-2a) in his last five games.
• Three of Stalberg’s four goals have come on Bridgestone Arena ice.
Carter Hutton has posted a 1.21 goals-against average and a .964 save percentage to go along with three wins in four appearances this month. All three of his December victories came last week as he turned aside 97-of-101 shots against (.960 save percentage) en route to being named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week (Dec. 9-15).
On Tuesday, Hutton recorded his first win since Nov. 6 at Colorado by stopping 28-of-29 shots in a 4-1 victory against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in front of a nationally televised audience on NBC Network. The Thunder Bay, Ont., native followed that up on Thursday with a 33-save performance in a 3-1 win against Dallas. He completed his undefeated week by stopping 36-of-38 shots – included 18 in the third period – in a 3-2 win over San Jose on Saturday.
Hutton is now 7-3-1 with a 2.76 goal-against average and a .913 save percentage in 14 appearances this season.
THE CAPTAIN LEADS
After posting an assist on Saturday night’s game-winning goal, Shea Weber has now posted four points (4a) in his last four games.
• The effort moved Weber into a tie for third in team scoring (7g-9a-16pts).
• Weber is tied with Zdeno Chara (BOS) and Michael Stone (PHX) for third in goals among blueliners (7). Nashville’s captain is the only defenseman in the League to lead his team in goals.
• The Preds are 7-0-0 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• Weber has posted 10 power-play points (5g-5a), good for ninth among League defensemen (tie), while his five power-play goals lead all blueliners.
• The Sicamous, B.C., native is tied with Craig Smith with 10 points (4g-6a) on home ice.
• Weber has led Nashville in ice time in 18 of the last 24 games he’s played to rank fifth in the League in the category (26:16).
• Nashville’s captain is tied with Kevin Klein for the team lead and ranks 18th in the League in blocked shots (67), in addition to ranking second on the team in hits (75).
THE GOOSE IS LOOSE
With four points (2g-2a) in his last three games, Paul Gaustad has more than doubled his points output from his previous 30 games, and has moved within two points of hitting the 200-point plateau for his career.
• Gaustad recorded his fifth goal of the season on Thursday night against Dallas, one game after tying his career high with his fourth-career three-point outing (1g-2a) a week ago in New York City.
• The Portland, Ore., native has won 336-of-562 face-offs (59.8 percent), to rank second the League in the category (minimum 450 draws).
• Since becoming a father for the first time on Nov. 12, Gabriel Bourque has posted nine points (3g-6a) in his last 13 games.
• Matt Cullen has posted nine points (3g-6a) in his last 14 games. Cullen also ranks among the League’s top face-off men (seventh, 57.3 percent), winning 224-of-391 draws.
• After posting four goals in his last 10 outings, Mike Fisher is now tied with Shea Weber for the team lead in goal scoring. Five of his seven goals have come on Bridgestone Arena ice. The Peterborough, Ont., native also leads all Preds forwards in ice time (18:39) – more than two minutes higher than the next closest forward (David Legwand, 16:19) – and blocked shots (27), while he ranks third in hits (53).
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (22:28). The Plano, Texas native ranks among the League’s Top 25 first-year players in points (3g-7a-10pts), assists, goals and shots on goal (46), while ranking third in blocked shots (55), fourth in power-play points (5) and sixth in power-play goals (2) among rookies.
• David Legwand has four points (1g-3a) in his last three outings, and 17 points (5g-12a) in his last 21 outings to lead the team with 24 points (6g-18a) in 33 games. Fifteen (5g-10a) of Legwand’s 24 points have come away from the Music City.
• Craig Smith posted an assist in his return to the lineup on Saturday night, giving him eight points (3g-5a) in his last 11 outings. The Madison, Wis., native is tied for the team lead with 10 points (3g-7a) and a +5 rating in 15 home games. Smith’s tied for third in team scoring (6g-10a-16pts) and second shots (75).
• Nashville is 16-3-2 when scoring more than one goal, and 14-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.
• The Preds’ penalty kill ranks eighth in the League (85 percent), and has allowed the seventh-fewest power-play goals (16). Nashville’s road penalty kill ranks among the League’s best (ninth; 85.2 percent), while its home penalty kill continues to improve (11th; 84.9 percent).
• The Preds have not allowed a shorthanded goal since March 21, 2013, when Calgary scored two shorthanded goals – a span of 52 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 3, San Jose 2 at Bridgestone Arena
• Seven of Nashville’s 16 wins this season have come by one goal – it is 7-0-3 in one-goal games.
• Eric Nystrom opened the scoring for Nashville, and is now just one off the team lead (Mike Fisher, Shea Weber and Patric Hornqvist) and one goal shy of matching his output from last season (7g in 48gp). Nystrom also dished out five hits on the night. He leads the team and ranks 20th among League forwards in the category (83).
• With Nystrom’s goal, the Predators improved to 13-1-2 when they score first.
• With Roman Josi’s power-play goal, the Preds have now scored on three of their last five man-advantage opportunities and have improved to 20 percent on the season (ninth).
• Nashville’s penalty kill shut down one of the League’s best power plays on Saturday night, and has allowed just three goals in its last 41 times shorthanded (in 14 games).
• Nashville ranks second in the League in team face-off win percentage this season (54 percent). The Preds have been better than 50 percent in the face-off circle in 27 of their 33 games. Matt Cullen led the Preds after going six for 10 in the face-off circle (60 percent).
• San Jose’s 20 shots in the third period were the most by an opponent in a single frame this season. The Preds last allowed 20 or more shots in a period on home ice on Feb. 7, 2013 against Los Angeles (20, second period).
• Patrick Marleau accounted for seven of San Jose’s third-period shots – tying the most by an opponent in a single frame in franchise history (last, Henrik Zetterberg (7) on Feb. 24, 2007).
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
The Predators have been one of the League’s best teams on home ice since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, compiling 200 home victories, and are tied for the fourth-most in the NHL in that span with Anaheim. Nashville is the only team in the NHL to post at least 23 home victories in seven consecutive full seasons.
STORYLINES vs. CHICAGO
The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks play the second game of their five-game 2013-14 season series on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. The Blackhawks will return to Music City on April 12, 2014, while the Preds will travel to the Windy City twice in a nine-day span in mid-March. Nashville holds a 22-15-6 mark all-time against the Chicago on Bridgestone Arena ice.
These teams last met on Nov. 16 game, as the Preds returned from a 17-day road trip. The road-weary Preds were able to post seven goals, tied for the third-highest goals for total on home ice, en route to the 7-2 win over the Hawks. Twelve of Nashville’s 18 skaters found the scoresheet, including six multi-point efforts, led by Craig Smith who posted a three-point night (1g-2a).
David Legwand has 13 points (3g-10a) in his last 12 games against the Hawks. He has 60 career points (21g-39a) against Chicago – more points, goals and assists than any other player against any team in franchise history… Patric Hornqvist (5g-5a-10pts, 9gp) and Mike Fisher (3g-4a-7pts, 7gp) are both producing at a point-per-game clip or better 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.
• Marek Mazanec picked up his first NHL win after turning aside 39-of-41 Chicago shots on Nov. 16, 2013.
• Shea Weber posted his most recent of nine career two-goal games on March 31, 2012 vs. Chicago.
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
December 15, 2001: Tenkrat nets a natural hat trick as Preds top Chicago
Petr Tenkrat appeared in 58 games for Nashville in 2001-02 after coming over from Anaheim in a trade for Patric Kjellberg on Nov. 1, 2000. In only his sixth game in front of the hometown faithful, Tenkrat left quite an impression with a natural trick against Nashville’s Central Division rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. He scored his trio of goals at 13:44 and 14:11 of the second period, and 7:39 of the third.
Vitali Yachmenev and Greg Johnson also notched specials-teams goals in the first period as the Preds topped the ‘Hawks 5-2. Mike Dunham stood strong in net, making 31 saves for the second of a three-game winning streak and four-game unbeaten streak for the fifth-year franchise.
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