DEVILS (22-21-11)* AT PREDATORS (24-23-8)
*prior to Thursday at Dallas
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.
Colton Sissons, the Preds second choice, 50th overall (second round), in the 2012 Entry Draft, made his NHL debut on Tuesday night in Winnipeg, becoming Nashville’s 18th draft pick to suit up, and the eighth rookie to see time with the NHL club, this season. The North Vancouver, B.C., native tallied an assist on Nick Spaling’s second-period goal and recorded a +1 rating in 10:49 of ice time. With the helper, he became the first Nashville rookie to post an assist in his NHL debut since Spaling (Dec. 15, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay) and the first rookie to register a point in his NHL debut since Kevin Henderson (1g; April 19, 2013 at Chicago).
Prior to his first career recall on Wednesday, the AHL rookie paced the Milwaukee Admirals in goals and points (16g-12a-28pts), in addition to being tied for second among all AHL skaters in game-winning goals (5). He was also one of just three rookies named to the 2014 AHL All-Star Team earlier this month. Sissons is wearing No. 84 for the Preds; it is the second-highest number worn in franchise history behind Yanic Perrault (94).
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 4, Winnipeg 3 at MTS Center
• The Preds posted four goals for the sixth time in the last eight games. They had done it only six times in the previous 26 games.
• Nashville improved to 18-2-5 when scoring first (.720).
• Seth Jones opened the scoring on a delayed penalty at 3:48 of the first period. The Preds are now 4-0-1 when Jones scores. He also registered 24:13 of ice time – his highest total since Dec. 5 vs. Carolina (24:40).
• Michael Del Zotto picked up his first point in a Nashville sweater with an assist on Jones’ goal. He is now four points shy of hitting the 100-point mark for his career.
• Nick Spaling tallied his sixth point (3g-3a) in his last six outings with his goal at 17:18 of the middle frame. That marker tied his career highs in both goals (10) and points (22) set during the 2011-12 season. The Preds are now 29-5-2 all-time when Spaling scores.
• Roman Josi and Mike Fisher both tallied at the 42-second mark of the second and third periods, respectively. With those goals, Nashville has now tallied seven goals in the opening minute of periods this season, with three of those coming at Winnipeg.
• With Fisher’s power-play goal, Nashville has posted seven man-advantage goals in its last eight outings (seven-for-26, 26.9 percent).
• Smith’s two-assist effort was his eighth multi-point game this season, more than his first two NHL seasons combined. He has four points (1g-3a) in his last four outings, and is now three points shy of tying his career high of 36 points (14g-22a) set during his rookie season (2011-12).
• Carter Hutton picked up his 12th win of the season after turning away 24-of-27 shots against. Three of Hutton’s 12 wins have come against the Jets.
• The Preds were shorthanded only twice after being shorthanded a combined 13 times in the previous three games. They average the League’s seventh-fewest penalty minutes per game (10).
NORRIS CALIBER CAPTAIN
Shea Weber has been one of the League’s top point-producing defensemen with 23 points (6g-17a) in his last 24 games. Nashville’s captain ranks among the League’s Top Five defensemen in scoring (13g-23a-36pts).
• Weber leads all League defensemen in goals (13), and his nine power-play goals pace all blueliners and rank among the League’s Top Five skaters.
• Seven of Weber’s 13 goals have come in the first period. The Preds are 10-1-2 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• Seven (2g-5a) of Weber’s 36 points have come on game-winning goals.
• His team-leading 19 power-play points (9g-10a) are good for third among League defensemen (tie) and rank among the Top 10 skaters in the League.
• Weber ranks fourth in the League in average ice time (26:43) and has played past the half-hour mark seven times.
• Weber leads his team and ranks seventh in the NHL in blocked shots (120). He also ranks second on the team in hits (108).
• The Sicamous, B.C., native will serve as an alternate captain for the 2014 Canadian Olympic Team in Sochi next month – it is his second Olympic appearance for Canada. 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.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
• Roman Josi has nine points (3g-6a) in his last eight games, including three multi-point games in his last six outings. The Bern, Switzerland native ranks second on the team and fifth among all League skaters in average ice time (26:05). Josi is one of just two blueliners in the NHL this season, and just the second in franchise history, to record multiple shootout tallies. He was recently selected for his second Swiss Olympic Team. He was named to the Swiss team in 2010, but missed the Vancouver Games due to injury.
• Mike Fisher has compiled 15 points (7g-8a) in his last 17 games. The Peterborough, Ont., native leads all Preds forwards in ice time (19:04) – more than two minutes higher than the next closest forward (David Legwand, 16:53). Fisher also ranks second among club forwards in blocked shots (45) and hits (92).
• Seth Jones is tied for 14th among first-year players in points (5g-15a-20pts), leads all rookies in games played (55), ranks third in average time on ice (20:57), and is among the League’s Top 10 rookies in blocked shots (75), power-play points (8) and power-play goals (2).
• Following the Preds first-ever four-goal game, and his first career hat trick last Friday in Calgary, Eric Nystrom has six points (4g-2a) in his last four outings, giving him 15 points (11g-4a) on the year – he is just five goals shy of tying his career high (16) and six points shy of his career high (16g-5a-21pts, 2011-12).
TROTZ CLIMBS ALL-TIME LISTS
Barry Trotz, the only head coach the Nashville Predators have ever known, ranks 14th on the all-time wins list (543) following Nashville’s win over Winnipeg on Tuesday. Trotz is now six wins shy of tying Marc Crawford for 13th all-time (549). The Dauphin, Manitoba, native is the longest tenured head coach in the NHL (1,169 games) and has the second-longest active tenure in all four major sports behind the San Antonio Spurs’ Head Coach Gregg Popovich. Trotz’s system has seen marked improvement over the past 10 seasons, as the Preds posted a 145-199-49-17 record through the club's first five seasons, and 378-250-11-72 in the 10 seasons since, in addition to posting a 21-21-7 record in the playoffs during that span.
TEAM QUICK HITS
• With its power-play goal on Tuesday night, Nashville’s power play ranks among the League’s Top 10 teams (sixth, 20.8 percent). Its road power play is ranked 11th (19 percent) and home power play ranks eighth (22.6 percent). The Preds are 19-5-2 when they score a power-play goal. Shea Weber leads the team with 19 points (9g-9a) on the man-advantage.
• With the addition of Michael Del Zotto (23), Nashville has the youngest defensive corps in the League (23 years, 354 days). According to Elias Sports Bureau, the only other teams in the NHL with an average defensive age under 26 (including players on IR) are Columbus (25 years, 314 days) and Washington (25 years, 347 days).
• Nashville is in the midst of a stretch of 17 games in a 31-day span (Jan. 2-Feb. 1). During this span, the Preds will play eight times at home and nine times on the road.
• The Preds have played 28 home games and 27 road games going into Friday night’s tilt against the Devils. They will have two more home games and two more road games before the Olympic break.
• The Preds have not allowed a shorthanded goal since March 21, 2013, when Calgary scored two shorthanded – a span of 73 games. Nashville is the only team in the League not to have allowed a shorthanded goal this season.
• Nashville ranks second the League in team face-off win percentage (53.2 percent). The Preds have been 50 percent or better in the face-off circle in 42 of their 55 games.
• Of Nashville's top 12 point getters this season, 10 are Preds draft picks.
STORYLINES VS. NEW JERSEY
The Nashville Predators open back-to-back tilts on Friday night as they host the New Jersey Devils for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011 – a 3-2 shootout win for the Devils. It is just the 10th time New Jersey has appeared on Bridgestone Arena ice.
Dating back to Feb. 29, 2000, the Preds and Devils have played 15 times, with 12 of those games decided by one goal. Additionally, four of eight games since the start of the 2005-06 campaign have needed a shootout to determine the winner. Overall, the road team has won 12 of the 18 all-time meetings. Nashville is 7-8-(1)-2 against New Jersey all-time, and 2-5-(0)-2 on home ice.
These teams last met at the Prudential Center on Nov. 10 during the Preds franchise-record 17-day road trip. Jaromir Jagr got things going at 1:30 of the first period, before the Devils posted a pair of goals in the second and a pair in the third en route to a 5-0 shutout of the Preds.
In the Devils last trip to Bridgestone Arena, the Preds jumped out to an early lead with a two-goal first period, but the Devils responded with a two-goal period of their own in the third to force overtime. After a scoreless overtime period, Ilya Kovalchuk beat Pekka Rinne in the shootout to secure the win for New Jersey.
Matt Cullen has faced the Devils more than any other Predator, posting nine points (2g-7a) in 33 career games against New Jersey… David Legwand, who made his NHL debut on April 17, 1999 vs. New Jersey, has seven points (3g-4a) in 14 career games against the Devils… Viktor Stalberg has three points (1g-2a) in four games against the Devils… In four games against New Jersey, Colin Wilson has two points (1g-1a).
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
January 30, 1999: Sebastien Bordeleau scores in OT; first Preds’ OT win
Playing a matinee game on Super Bowl Sunday 1999 during their inaugural season, the Nashville Predators made franchise history against the New Jersey Devils. After battling back from an early two-goal deficit, Sebastien Bordeleau netted the team’s first-ever overtime winner at 2:43 of the extra session.
The comeback started at 4:13 of the second when Greg Johnson scored his 11th goal of the season to close the gap to one. Scott Walker assisted on the Johnson tally before potting one of his own at 11:35 of the third to send the game to sudden death.
The contest was also a statement game of sorts for Preds netminder Mike Dunham, his first game against his former team, and mentor Martin Brodeur. Dunham was solid in his return to the Meadowlands, out-dueling Martin Brodeur with a 27-save effort.
A victory against Buffalo 48 hours prior meant the Preds headed back to the Music City on a high, having recorded back-to-back road victories for just the second time all year.
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