CANADIENS (21-13-13) at PREDATORS (16-16-3)
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
STORYLINES VS. MONTREAL
The Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens square off in the Music City for the first time since Nov. 12, 2011 – the 1,000th regular season game for the franchise. Nashville is 6-5-4 in 15 all-time games against Montreal, but has only lost once in regulation to the League’s oldest team on Bridgestone Arena ice – March 10, 2003 (3-1).
These two teams met for first time this season in La Métropole on Oct. 19, as Seth Jones played hero for Nashville with his first career game-winning goal with less than two minutes remaining in the third period. Shea Weber opened the scoring for Nashville in the first period, while Brendan Gallagher tied the game in the second, before Jones finished off the Habs. Pekka Rinne made 28 saves on the night for the Preds.
The Preds and Habs last met in Nashville on Nov. 12, 2011, in the franchise’s 1,000th regular-season game. Montreal jumped out an early lead, before Shea Weber tied the game with a shorthanded goal early in the second period. The score would remain tied until Max Pacioretty beat Rinne midway through the overtime frame.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS AND FRANCHISE RECORDS VS. MONTREAL
• Matt Hendricks tied his career-high five shots on goal on March 15, 2011 at the Bell Centre.
• Viktor Stalberg made his NHL debut against Montreal on Oct. 1, 2009.
• Kimmo Timonen coverted the franchise’s first penalty shot against Montreal’s Jeff Hackett on Nov. 18, 1999.
• Nashville scored a franchise-record two shorthanded goals against Montreal on Nov. 18, 1999 (6-1 win).
• The Predators posted the highest shots on goal total in franchise history (55) in a 2-0 win on Nov. 14, 2009 in Nashville.
SMITH POSTS A PAIR
On Thursday night in Tampa, Craig Smith posted his third career two-goal effort in the 4-2 loss to the Lightning. The Madison, Wis., native tallied his first goal at 6:36 of the middle frame just as time expired on Nashville’s third power play of the game, but Smith would notch a power-play goal a little more than six minutes later to pull Nashville within a goal.
• Smith has two of Nashville’s four two-goal performances this season. It was also the first time that a Predator has scored multiple goals in a period since Colin Wilson (March 8, 2013 vs. Edmonton (third per.)).
• He has posted three points (2g-1a) in his last three games, and 10 points (5g-5a) in his last 13 outings, to move into a tie for second in team scoring (8g-10a-18pts).
• Smith is now tied with Shea Weber for the team goal-scoring lead (8).
• Smith’s two-goal outing on Thursday came on a career-high seven shots on goal. Smith ranks second on the team with 84 shots on goal.
• He ranks second on the team with 10 (3g-7a) of his 18 points coming on Bridgestone Arena ice.
• Nashville is 5-1-0 when Smith scores.
THE CAPTAIN LEADS
• The effort moved Weber into a tie for second in team scoring (8g-10a-18pts). Five of his eight goals have come in the first period.
• Weber is tied with Torey Krug (BOS) for third in goals among blueliners (8). Nashville’s captain is the only defenseman in the League to lead his team in goals.
• The Sicamous, B.C., native has posted 11 power-play points (6g-5a), good for seventh among League defensemen (tie), while his six power-play goals lead all blueliners (tie).
• Weber leads all Preds will 11 points (5g-6a) on home ice.
• The Preds are 7-1-0 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• Weber has led Nashville in ice time in 19 of the last 26 games he’s played to rank fifth in the League in the category (26:23).
• Nashville’s captain leads the team and ranks 14th in the League in blocked shots (72), in addition to ranking second on the team in hits (78).
POWER PLAY CLICKS
Nashville has posted five power-play goals in its last four games, after converting one-of-five man-advantage chances on Thursday night in Tampa. The Preds five power-play goals account for more than half of their nine total goals scored during that span. Thursday’s loss was just Nashville’s second in regulation when scoring a power-play goal (13-2-1). The Preds power play has improved to ninth in the League (19.6), while its home power play remains one of the League’s most potent (ninth, 21.2 percent). David Legwand (3g-8a-11pts) and Shea Weber (6g-5a-11pts) lead the team on the man advantage.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
• Since becoming a father for the first time on Nov. 12, Gabriel Bourque has posted nine points (3g-6a) in the last 14 games he’s played.
• With two assists on Thursday night, Matt Cullen completed his fourth multi-point game of the season, giving him 11 points (3g-8a) in his last 16 games. Cullen also ranks among the League’s top face-off men (ninth, 57.1 percent), winning 234-of-410 draws.
• After posting four goals in his last 12 outings, Mike Fisher is now tied with Patric Hornqvist for third in team 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 (18:49) – more than two minutes higher than the next closest forward (David Legwand, 16:28) – and blocked shots (28), while he ranks third in hits (53).
• With four points (2g-2a) in his last five games, Paul Gaustad has moved within two points of hitting the 200-point plateau for his career. The Portland, Ore., native has won 352-of-587 face-offs (60 percent), to rank second the League in the category (minimum 500 draws).
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (21:57). The Plano, Texas native ranks among the League’s Top 25 first-year players in points (3g-7a-10pts), assists, goals and shots (48), while ranking third in blocked shots (55), fourth in power-play points (5) and sixth in power-play goals (2) among rookies.
• Roman Josi has six points (2g-4a) in his last six games, after having a career-high five game points streak snapped on Thursday night. The Bern, Switzerland native has led the team in ice time in three of the last six games, and ranks second on the team and among the League’s Top 20 defensemen in the category (24:53).
• David Legwand has five points (1g-4a) in his last five games, and 18 points (5g-13a) in his last 23 outings to lead the team with 25 points (6g-19a) in 34 games. Fifteen (5g-10a) of Legwand’s 25 points have come away from the Music City.
• Eric Nystrom is one goal shy of matching his output from last season (7g in 48gp). Nystrom leads the team in hits and ranks among the League’s Top 25 forwards in the category (85).
TEAM QUICK HITS
• Nashville is 4-2-0 against the Atlantic Division on home ice.
• Nashville is 16-4-2 when scoring more than one goal, and 14-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.
• Seven of Nashville’s 16 wins this season have come by one goal – it is 7-0-3 in one-goal games.
• The Predators are 13-1-2 when they score first this season.
• The Preds’ penalty kill ranks 10th in the League (83.6 percent), and has allowed the ninth-fewest power-play goals (19). Nashville’s road penalty kill ranks among the League’s best (ninth; 84.5 percent). Nashville’s penalty kill has allowed just six goals in its last 50 times shorthanded (16 games).
• 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.
• Nashville leads the League in team face-off win percentage this season (54.3 percent). The Preds have been better than 50 percent in the face-off circle in 29 of their 35 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 2, Tampa Bay 4 at Tampa Bay Times Forum
• Nashville has posted eight-or-more penalty minutes in back-to-back games, but remains among the League’s least penalized team (10.8 minutes per game).
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
December 22, 2011 – Nashville rallies from a pair of three-goal deficits to top Columbus, 6-5
After falling behind 4-1 in the first period, in large part because of a Jeff Carter hat trick, the Predators rallied for a dramatic 6-5 victory, capped by a thrilling game-winning goal by Martin Erat with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
Patric Hornqvist and Columbus’ Ryan Johansen traded goals early in the second to keep the Blue Jackets lead at three goals before the Predators comeback commenced. Nick Spaling sliced the lead to two, the Roman Josi claimed all the momentum with his second career tally at 13:41 of the second.
After a scoreless first 16 minutes of the third, Nashville knotted the game at 5-5 thanks to a pair of Top 10 draft picks. Colin Wilson, the seventh overall pick in the 2008 Draft corralled a rebound and fed David Legwand, the second overall pick in the 1998 Draft, where he buried the equalizer.
Erat’s heroics sealed the improbable comeback victory with a meager 8.4 seconds left on the clock. After taking a pass from Ryan Suter in the neutral zone, Erat split two defenders before sliding a backhand between the legs of stunned Curtis Sanford. The win was the second time in two weeks the Predators had rallied and come from behind to defeat the Blue Jackets. The first was a 4-3 overtime victory at Nationwide Arena on Dec. 8; Nashville scored at 18:24 and 19:47 of the third to tie it, before winning at 1:45 of overtime.
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