BRUINS (24-10-2) at PREDATORS (16-16-4)
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. BOSTON
The Nashville Predators and Boston Bruins face-off at Bridgestone Arena for the first time since March 17, 2011. This is the 18th all-time meeting, and 10th in the Music City, between the Preds and Bruins, with the home team winning each of the last six games dating back to Dec. 30, 2006. Nashville is 7-8-(1)-1 all-time against the Bruins, but holds the 5-4—(0)-0 advantage on home ice. Off the ice, Boston is the only team Nashville has not made an additional transaction with (trade or waiver claim) since the Expansion Draft when Nashville selected Mike Sullivan from the Bruins (June. 26, 1998).
The Preds and Bruins last met two seasons ago at TD Garden, as extra time was needed for the second consecutive game between the two teams. Shea Weber, Patric Hornqvist and Mike Fisher all scored in regulation for the Preds, but it was Tyler Seguin’s shootout goal that proved to be the difference maker in Beantown.
The last meeting on Bridgestone Arena ice came on St. Patrick’s Day 2011, as the teams traded goals in all three frames to tie the game at three after regulation. David Legwand and Colin Wilson each had a goal and an assist, with Legwand scoring late in the third to force overtime. In the extra frame, Shea Weber notched a power-play goal with 1:23 remaining, as the Predators beat the Bruins, 4-3.
Of note in the all-time series, on Jan. 19, 2001, Cale Hulse neted the overtime winner and Mike Dunham made 35 saves as the Predators recorded their first home overtime victory in franchise history, 1-0. Nashville had played 15 previous overtime home games in team history, tying all but two of them. It had also produced six road victories in sudden death before netting the victory over the Bruins at Bridgestone Arena.
Mike Fisher leads all Preds players with 17 points (9g-8a) in 48 career games against Boston… Paul Gaustad has 16 points (5g-11a) in 41 games against the Bruins… Colin Wilson, who scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 21, 2009 against the Bruins, has been a point-per-game player against Boston (2g-1a-3pts, 3gp). Wilson helped Boston University win the 2009 NCAA National Championship, after finishing second in the nation in both points (55) and assists (38). He was named the 2009 USA College Hockey Player of the Year, Inside College Hockey’s 2009 Player of the Year and one of three 2009 Hobey Baker “Hat Trick” finalist.
Shea Weber tallied his second multi-point effort (1g-1a) in his last five games on Saturday night, giving Nashville’s captain eight points (2g-6a) in his last seven games. Weber is also riding a five-game point streak (2g-5a-7pts) – tied for the longest by a Predator this season.
• The effort moved Weber into second in team scoring (9g-11a-20pts). Five of his nine goals have come in the first period.
• Weber is tied with Zdeno Chara (BOS) and Erik Karlsson (OTT) for first in goals among blueliners (9). Nashville’s captain is the only defenseman in the League to lead his team in goals.
• The Preds are 7-1-1 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• The Sicamous, B.C., native has posted 13 power-play points (7g-6a), good for third among League defensemen (tie), while his seven power-play goals pace all blueliners.
• Weber leads all Preds will 13 points (6g-7a) on home ice.
• Weber has led Nashville in ice time in 20 of the last 27 games he’s played to rank fifth in the League in the category (26:29).
• Nashville’s captain is tied with Kevin Klein for the team lead and ranks 16th in the League in blocked shots (73), in addition to ranking second on the team in hits (80).
POWER PLAY CLICKS
Nashville picked up its seventh power-play goal in its last five games on Saturday night with goals from Nick Spaling and Shea Weber – it was the Preds seventh game with multiple power-play goals this season. Seven of Nashville’s last 12 goals have come on the man advantage. After going two-for-two on Saturday, the Nashville power play remains one of the League’s most potent (seventh, 21 percent), while its home power play ranks among the League’s Top Five (fifth, 24.1 percent). The Preds are now 13-2-2 when they score a power-play goal. Weber, who tallied his franchise-leading 56th career power-play goal, leads the team with 13 points (7g-6a) on the man advantage this season.
PILING UP POINTS
Several players who found the scoresheet against Montreal are posting points consistently for the Preds as of late:
• With his goal on Saturday night, Gabriel Bourque has posted 10 points (4g-6a) in the last 16 games he’s played – all since becoming a father for the first time on Nov. 12.
• Matt Cullen has points in back-to-back games (3a), giving him 12 points in his last 17 outings. Cullen also ranks among the League’s top face-off men (ninth, 57.1 percent), winning 234-of-410 draws.
• With an assist on Saturday night, Craig Smith has posted four points (2g-2a) in his last four games, and 11 points (5g-6a) in his last 14 outings, to move into third in team scoring (8g-11a-19pts). He ranks second on the team with 11 (3g-8a) of his 19 points coming on Bridgestone Arena ice. Nashville is 5-1-0 when Smith scores.
• Viktor Stalberg has tallied five points (2g-3a) in his last eight outings after posting an assist on Bourque’s first-period goal on Saturday.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
• Mike Fisher leads all Preds forwards in ice time (18:51) – more than two minutes higher than the next closest forward (David Legwand, 16:27) – and blocked shots (28), while he ranks third in hits (57).
• With four points (2g-2a) in his last six games, Paul Gaustad has moved within two points of hitting the 200-point plateau for his career. The Portland, Ore., native has won 358-of-599 face-offs (59.8 percent), to rank second the League to Boston’s Patrice Bergeron) in the category (minimum 500 draws).
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (21:34). 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 seven games. The Bern, Switzerland native has led the team in ice time in three of the last seven games, and ranks second on the team and among the League’s Top 20 defensemen in the category (25:03).
• David Legwand has five points (1g-4a) in his last six games, and 18 points (5g-13a) in his last 24 outings to lead the team with 25 points (6g-19a) in 36 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 (86).
TEAM QUICK HITS
• Nashville is 4-2-1 against the Atlantic Division.
• Nashville is 16-4-3 when scoring more than one goal, and 14-0-2 when scoring three-or-more goals.
• Seven of Nashville’s 16 wins this season have come by one goal – it is 7-0-4 in one-goal games.
• The Predators are 13-1-2 when they score first.
• The Preds’ penalty kill ranks 10th in the League (83.9 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), while its home power play continues to improve (13th, 83.3 percent). Nashville’s penalty kill has allowed just six goals in its last 52 times shorthanded (17 games).
• The Preds have not allowed a shorthanded goal since March 21, 2013, when Calgary scored two shorthanded goals – a span of 54 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 30 of their 36 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 3, Montreal 4 (OT) at Bridgestone Arena
• It marked the first time the opposition has won an OT game at Bridgestone Arena since Nov. 19, 2011 vs. Columbus (3-4),
• Nick Spaling tallied his first power-play goal of the season – his third career man-advantage maker. The goal gives Spaling nine points (5g-4a) in his last 17 games. Nashville is now 24-5-2 when the Drayton, Ont., native scores in his career, and 40-12-5 when he records a point.
• Mike Fisher posted an assist on Shea Weber’s game-tying goal – it was Fisher’s first point since Dec. 5. Fisher led the team in the face-off circle, going 17-of-19 (89 percent), and dished out a team-high four hits.
• First time the Preds have recorded 20-or-more shots in a period since Oct. 9, 2010 vs. Anaheim (third period, 21). Half of Nashville’s 18 skaters posted multiple shots on goal.
• Roman Josi led the Preds with a career-high seven shots. Five of Josi’s seven shots came in the second period, tying a high by a Pred this season.
• Saturday was the third straight game a Pred has had seven shots – the highest total by a Nashville player this season.
• Nashville won the face-off battle (62-38). Led by Fisher and Matt Cullen (eight-of-13, 62 percent).
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
December 23, 1998: Nashville beats Detroit during ice storm in Music City
The Predators gave the Nashville fans who braved an ice storm an early Christmas present in 1998 when they defeated the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings, 5-3, in a high-scoring spirited affair.
Trailing 1-0, the Preds rallied for four straight scores. Both Scott Walker and Cliff Ronning tallied two goals each for Nashville, while Patric Kjellberg, Sebastian Bordeleau and Andrew Brunette pitched in a pair of assists each. It was the first time in franchise history the Preds hosted the Wings, and was the only victory for the expansion franchise against the defending champs during their inaugural season.
With starting netminder Mike Dunham on the shelf due to injury, Tomas Vokoun got the nod in net, stopping and impressive 50 of 53 shots in the victory. The save total still stands as the third-highest in a single game by a Nashville goaltender.
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