SENATORS (19-18-8) at PREDATORS (19-20-6)
Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates
STORYLINES VS. OTTAWA
The Nashville Predators open back-to-back home games as the Ottawa Senators come to town for just the eighth time in franchise history. Nashville has posted a 3-4-0 record in the previous seven games, last winning on home ice on Dec. 14, 2006. In 15 all-time games against the Sens, the Preds are 6-9-0.
You’d have to go back to Dec. 23, 2010 to find the last game between the Sens and Preds at Bridgestone Arena. On that night, Ottawa jumped out to an early lead on an Alex Kovalev goal midway through the opening period, before a power-play goal made it 2-0 just five minutes into the second. Marcel Goc would tally just three minutes later, but the 2-1 margin would stand at the final buzzer.
Paul Gaustad has faced the Sens more than any other Pred, posting 12 points (5g-7a) in 41 games… Shea Weber has four points (2g-2a) in six career games against Ottawa… This is Mike Fisher’s second game against Ottawa since the Predators acquired him from the Senators on Feb. 10, 2011. He was selected in the second round, 44th overall, by the Senators in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft and during 10-plus seasons in Ottawa, he posted 167 goals and 181 assists in 675 career games. The Peterborough, Ont., native helped lead the Sens to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, and in 75 playoff games in a Senators sweater, he posted 28 points (14g-14a).
Shea Weber continues to be a dominant force for Nashville, posting seven points (1g-6a) in his last five outings and 17 points (3g-14a) in his last 16 games.
• Weber has taken over Nashville’s points lead (10g-19a-29pts) and moved into the League’s Top 10 in defensive scoring.
• Nashville captain is one of just four defensemen to lead their team in scoring (Dustin Byfuglien (WPG), Erik Karlsson (OTT) and P.K. Subban (MTL)).
• Weber is tied with Byfuglien, Karlsson and Torey Krug (BOS) for the League’s defensive goal-scoring lead (10). Half of Weber’s 10 goals have come in the first period. The Preds are 7-1-2 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• The Sicamous, B.C., native’s 15 power-play points (7g-8a) are good for fifth among League defensemen (tie), while his seven power-play goals pace all blueliners.
• Weber is fourth in the League in average time on ice this season (26:40) and has played past the half-hour mark on five occasions.
• Weber leads the team and ranks sixth in the League in blocked shots (103), in addition to tying Eric Nystrom for the team hits lead (95).
• Weber was named to his second consecutive Canadian Olympic team on Tuesday. During the 2010 Olympics, he was named to the tournament’s all-star team after tying for second among blueliners in points (2g-4a) and helping Canada claim gold.
SMITH RACKS EM UP
With a goal and an assist on Thursday against Anaheim, Craig Smith has racked up 11 points (7g-4a) in his last 11 games, moving him into first in goals and third in team scoring (13g-14a-27pts). The effort was Smith’s fourth multi-point game since Dec. 19 (an 11-game span) and seventh of the season. The Madison, Wis., native also owns three of Nashville’s seven two-goal performances this season. Eighteen (7g-11a) of Smith’s 27 points this season have come on home ice, and he’s posted a team-high +11 rating at Bridgestone Arena.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
• Mike Fisher has 10 points (4g-6a) in his last seven games. The Peterborough, Ont., native leads all Preds forwards in ice time (19:01) – more than two minutes higher than the next closest forward (David Legwand, 16:41). He also leads club forwards in blocked shots (38) and ranks third in hits (75).
• Paul Gaustad has won 441-of-745 face-offs (59.2 percent), to rank second in the League in the category (minimum 700 draws).
• Patric Hornqvist, who missed Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury, has seven points (2g-5a) in his last nine outings to rank fourth on the team in scoring (9g-15a-24pts), while he leads the team and ranks 23rd in the League with 134 shots on goal. The Sollentuna, Sweden native is tied for seventh on the club’s all-time goal-scoring list and all-time power-play goals list (32).
• Seth Jones has five points (1g-4a) in his last seven games, and is tied for 14th among first-year players in points (4g-12a-16pts). The Plano, Texas native ranks second in time on ice (20:59) and games played (45), and ranks among the League’s Top 10 rookies in blocked shots (64), power-play points (6), power-play goals (2) and even-strength assists.
• With the game-winning goal on Tuesday night, Roman Josi has nine points (4g-5a) in his last 16 games. The Bern, Switzerland native has led the team in ice time in seven of the last 15 games to rank second on the team and seventh among League defensemen in the category (25:40). Josi was recently named to his first Swiss Olympic Team after missing the 2010 Games with an injury.
• Kevin Klein is set to play in his 400th game on Saturday night vs. Ottawa.
• Colin Wilson has seven points (2g-5a) in his last eight games as he continues to climb the Preds point-scoring leaderboard (7g-15a-22pts). With his assist on Roman Josi’s game winner on Tuesday night against San Jose, Wilson now has six points (2g-4a) on game-winning goals this season.
POWER PLAY PROWESS
Eleven of Nashville’s last 37 goals have come on the man advantage, including power-play tallies in nine of the team’s last 14 games. The Preds power play remains one of the League’s most potent (seventh, 20.3 percent), while Nashville’s home power play ranks among the League’s Top 10 (seventh, 22.9 percent) after posting a man-advantage goal in seven of its last nine games at Bridgestone Arena (nine for 30). The Preds are now 15-4-2 when they score a power-play goal. Shea Weber leads the team with 15 points (7g-8a) on the man advantage this season.
TEAM QUICK HITS
• Nashville is 5-3-3 against the Atlantic Division.
• Nine of Nashville’s 19 wins this season have come by one goal – the team is 9-2-6 in one-goal games (.529).
• The Predators are 16-2-4 when they score first (.727), and are 14-1-1 when leading after the first period (.875).
• The Preds have not allowed a shorthanded goal since March 21, 2013, when Calgary scored two shorthanded goals – a span of 61 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 (54.2 percent). The Preds have been better than 50 percent in the face-off circle in 36 of their 45 games.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 3, Anaheim 4 at Bridgestone Arena
• Paul Gaustad’s game-opening goal was the 200th point of his NHL career. Gaustad also finished eight-of-12 in the face-off circle (67 percent).
• Rich Clune posted his second goal of the season at 5:31 of the middle frame. It was Clune’s first point since a two-point outing on Dec. 10 in New York City (1g-1a).
• With a pair of assists, Matt Cullen recorded his fifth multi-point game. Cullen also led Nashville in the face-off circle, winning 10-of-13 draws (77 percent).
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
December 14, 2006: Sullivan notches hat trick in franchise-record 5:56
The Ottawa Senators would eventually win the Eastern Conference and play for the Stanley Cup, but on Dec. 14, 2006, the night clearly belonged to Steve Sullivan and the Nashville Predators. Nashville topped the Sens 6-0 behind Sullivan’s natural hat trick and a 22-save shutout by Chris Mason.
Sullivan’s sixth career hat trick and third as a Predator came in a span of 5:56 in the second period, making it the fastest three goals scored by an individual Nashville player. J-P Dumont provided the playmaking, setting up Sullivan on all three markers.
"I've got to give credit to J-P Dumont," Sullivan said. "All three of them were me just trying to get open and him giving me some empty-netters. He sees the ice tremendously well. He's known as a pure goal scorer but his vision is very good on the ice. He holds on to the puck, waits for guys to open up and makes great passes.”
The victory was the second of five in a row for the Predators where they outscored their opponent 16-6. It was the second of three winning streaks that saw Nashville win five or more games in row, as it went on to finish with franchise record 51 wins and 110 points.
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