PREDATORS (16-17-4) at STARS (18-12-6)
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. DALLAS
The Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars square off on Friday night for the second of five meetings on the 2013-14 slate. The Stars will head to the Music City on Jan. 20, 2014, while the Preds will return to “Big D” on two other occasions in 2014. After winning the first matchup of the season, Nashville is 24-30-2 all-time against the Stars, and is 8-18-1 in 27 meetings at American Airlines Center.
In their first meeting of the season, Dallas struck first, but the Preds used power-play goals from Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand 28 seconds apart to take the 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Paul Gaustad would add an insurance marker at 9:10 of the second period as the Preds rolled to the 3-1 win at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville’s only trip to Dallas last season came on March 12, as Pekka Rinne turned aside 32 shots in a 4-0 shutout victory. Nick Spaling, Shea Weber and Gabriel Bourque all scored for the Preds, but it was Rich Clune’s penalty shot goal midway through the second period that turned the tide of the game.
Patric Hornqvist had four points (2g-2a) in his last three games against the Stars, and 11 points (7g-4a) in 17 career games against Dallas… Craig Smith has four points (1g-4a) in six career games against the Stars… Colin Wilson has eight points (4g-4a) in 11 career games against the Stars… Eric Nystrom played the previous two seasons with Dallas, posting 32 points (23g-9a) in 95 games.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS vs. DALLAS
• Gabriel Bourque scored his first NHL goal on Jan. 5, 2012 (Kari Lehtonen).
• Rich Clune converted his first-career penalty shot on March 12, 2013 (Kari Lehtonen).
• Mike Fisher scored on the first of two career penalty shots on Dec. 5, 2001 (Marty Turco). Fisher also appeared in his 800th career NHL game on March 12, 2013.
• Patric Hornqvist posted a career-high/franchise-record 14 shots on goal on Dec. 28, 2010, and scored his first career goal on Oct. 15, 2008 (Marty Turco).
• Roman Josi recorded a career high in goals and points (2g-2a-4pts) on Feb. 25, 2013.
• David Legwand posted the most recent of two career hat tricks on Oct. 6, 2007.
• Viktor Stalberg tallied a career-high three assists on March 16, 2013, and attempted his first career penalty shot on Jan. 5, 2011 (no goal).
• Shea Weber appeared in his 500th career NHL game on Feb. 25, 2013.
• Colin Wilson notched is first career two-goal game on Dec. 28, 2011.
POWER PLAY CLICKS
With Craig Smith’s second-period power-play goal on Monday night, Nashville picked up its eighth power-play goal in its last six games. Eight of Nashville’s last 14 goals have come on the man advantage. After going one-for-two on against the Bruins, the Nashville power play remains one of the League’s most potent (seventh, 21.6 percent), while its home power play ranks among the League’s Top Five (fourth, 25 percent). The Preds are now 13-3-2 when they score a power-play goal. Shea Weber leads the team with 13 points (7g-6a) on the man advantage this season.
SMITH FINDS HIS GROOVE
Craig Smith jumped into Nashville’s goal-scoring lead on Monday night with his third multi-goal game of the season, and second in his last three outings.
• The Madison, Wis., native owns three of Nashville’s five two-goal performances this season. Three of Smith’s last six goals have come on the power play.
• Smith has posted six points (4g-2a) in his last five games, and 13 points (7g-6a) in his last 15 outings, to move into a tie with Shea Weber for second in team scoring (10g-11a-21pts).
• Nashville is 5-2-0 when Smith scores.
Shea Weber extended his point streak (2g-6a-8pts) to six games with an assist on Monday night – it is the longest such streak by a Predator this season. The Preds captain has tallied nine points (2g-7a) in his last eight games.
• The effort moved Weber into a tie for second in team scoring (9g-12a-21pts). Five of his nine goals have come in the first period.
• Weber is tied with Zdeno Chara (BOS) for second in goals among blueliners (9). 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 fourth among League defensemen (tie), while his seven power-play goals pace all blueliners.
• Weber has led Nashville in ice time in 20 of the last 28 games he’s played to rank fifth in the League in the category (26:26).
• Nashville’s captain is tied with Kevin Klein for the team lead and ranks 16th in the League in blocked shots (74), in addition to ranking second on the team in hits (81).
PLAYER QUICK HITS
• With his goal on Saturday night, Gabriel Bourque has posted 10 points (4g-6a) in the last 17 games he’s played – all since becoming a father for the first time on Nov. 12.
• Matt Cullen 12 points (3g-9a) in his last 18 outings. Cullen also ranks among the League’s top face-off men (11th, 57 percent), winning 248-of-435 draws.
• Mike Fisher leads all Preds forwards in ice time (18:51) – more than two minutes higher than the next closest forward (David Legwand, 16:29) – and blocked shots (29), while he ranks third in hits (57).
• With four points (2g-2a) in his last seven games, Paul Gaustad has moved within two points of hitting the 200-point plateau for his career. The Portland, Ore., native has won 364-of-611 face-offs (59.6 percent), to rank second the League to in the category (minimum 600 draws).
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (21:26). The Plano, Texas native ranks among the League’s Top 25 first-year players in points (3g-8a-11pts), assists, goals and shots (49), while ranking fourth in blocked shots (56) and power-play points (6), and seventh in power-play goals (2) among rookies.
• Roman Josi has six points (2g-4a) in his last eight games. The Bern, Switzerland native has led the team in ice time in four of the last eight games, and ranks second on the team and among the League’s Top 15 defensemen in the category (25:05).
• David Legwand has five points (1g-4a) in his last seven games, and 18 points (5g-13a) in his last 25 outings to lead the team with 25 points (6g-19a) in 37 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).
• Viktor Stalberg has tallied five points (2g-3a) in his last nine outings.
TEAM QUICK HITS
• The Preds have 13 skaters with at least 10 points, including four defensemen with double-digit point totals – only Chicago, San Jose and Vancouver have more blueliners with double-digit points (five each).
• Nashville has outscored its opposition 7-3 in the second period over the past six games.
• Nashville is 16-5-3 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.
• Nashville’s road penalty kill ranks among the League’s best (ninth; 84.5 percent). Nashville’s penalty kill has allowed just nine goals in its last 55 times shorthanded (18 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 37 games.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 2, Boston 6 at Bridgestone Arena
• Sixteen of Nashville’s 18 skaters attempted a shot as the Predators put up double digits in shots on goal in each period for the first time in seven games (Dec. 7 at Washington). The Preds were led by Gabriel Bourque, Mike Fisher and Craig Smith with four shots each.
• Seth Jones and Ryan Ellis earned assists on Craig Smith’s first goal. The helper moved Jones into 18th in points (11) among rookie defensemen. It was Ellis’ second point (2a) in his last three games.
• Eric Nystrom’s fighting major was his third such penalty of the season (last on Nov. 15 at Pittsburgh).
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
December 26, 2000: Walker records first hat trick in front of the home fans
A large part of the celebration started a bit prematurely, but 13 months and 16 days after Rob Valicevic notched the first hat trick in franchise history, Scott Walker treated the Nashville fans to the first three-goal performance on home ice. The trick came in a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche – featuring Joe Sakic, the owner of the first hat trick in building history.
When Walker scored his second goal with 6:15 left, fans littered the Bridgestone Arena ice with hundreds of hats because they thought it was his third. But an earlier goal originally credited to Walker was changed to Patric Kjellberg. Those still in possession of headwear received another opportunity to honor Walker when he clinched the trick for real with a shorthanded empty-net tally with only 15 ticks left on the clock.
"It's a big thrill," Walker said. "I wasn't that concerned. Two goals for me is huge, three goals is just unbelievable. It's extra special for me to do it at home. To do it at home is just great, because the fans have been so great to us here."
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