PREDATORS (28-28-10) AT BLACKHAWKS (38-14-14)
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.
SMITH POSTS 20
With goals in back-to-back games, Craig Smith became the eighth Preds draftee to post at least 20 goals and 20 assists in a season in franchise history. The current goal streak is also the first time Smith has posted goals in consecutive games this season. The Madison, Wis., native added an assist on Tuesday night to complete his 10th multi-point outing of the season. Smith also led all skaters and tied his career high with seven shots on goal (third time). With Tuesday’s effort, Smith also hit the 40-point plateau (20g-20a) for the first time in his career. He has compiled 10 points (4g-6a) in his last 13 outings to rank first in goals, and second in both team scoring and shots (172).
SPALING STAYS HOT
With his third multiple-point game (1g-1a) of the season on Tuesday night, Nick Spaling has posted five points (3g-2a) in his last five games, and 11 points (6g-5a) in his last 12 outings. Spaling has goals in back-to-back games for the second time in his last 11 outings, and for the third time this season. The Preds are 10-2-1 when Drayton, Ont., native scores a goal this season, as well as 31-6-2 when he scores a goal and 42-14-5 when he records a point all-time.
NORRIS CALIBER CAPTAIN
Shea Weber has been the League’s top point-producing defenseman since Dec. 12, 2013, posting 29 points (9g-20a) in 35 games during that span.
• Weber recorded his 11th multiple-point outing (1g-1a) of the season on Tuesday night, including his fourth game-winning goal of the season.
• Nashville’s captain has surpassed the 40-point mark for the fifth consecutive full season, and he ranks among the League’s Top 10 defensemen in scoring (16g-26a-42pts).
• He is one of three defensemen (Erik Karlsson, OTT and P.K. Subban, MTL) to lead their team in scoring.
• Weber ranks second among League defensemen in goals, while his nine power-play goals pace all blueliners and rank among the League’s Top 10 skaters.
• His team-leading 22 power-play points (9g-13a) are good for third among League defensemen and rank among the Top 10 skaters in the League.
• Eight of Weber’s 16 goals have come in the first period. The Preds are 12-1-2 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• The Sicamous, B.C, native ranks fourth in the League in average ice time (26:54).
• Weber leads his team and is tied for ninth in the NHL in blocked shots (140). He is also tied for first on the team in hits (131), making him the only player in the NHL this season with more than 100 hits, 100 blocked shots and 10 goals.
• Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, Weber ranks first among NHL defensemen in goals (99), second in points (263), first in power-play goals (45), first in game-winning goals (16) and eighth in hits (988).
PLAYER QUICK HITS
• Seth Jones is fifth in points (6g-17a-23pts), first in games played (66) and fourth in average time on ice (20:25) among first-year defensemen. Jones also ranks among the League’s Top 10 rookie skaters in blocked shots (88), game-winning goals (2), power-play points (8) and power-play goals (2).
• Pekka Rinne has been among the League’s elite since becoming a full-time starter in 2008-09. Prior to missing 51 games this season, he ranked first in shutouts and among the League’s Top 10 in wins, save percentage and goals-against average.
• Mike Fisher has eight points (3g-5a) in his last 12 outings. The Peterborough, Ont., native leads all Preds forwards in ice time (19:26) – nearly three minutes higher than the next closest forward (Hornqvist, 16:34). Fisher also leads team forwards in blocked shots (59) and ranks second hits (116).
• Patric Hornqvist has seven points (2g-5a) in his last 12 games to move into fifth in team scoring (12g-21a-33pts). His 190 shots lead the team and rank among the League’s Top 30 skaters. Six of Hornqvist’s 12 goals this season have come in the second period.
• Roman Josi has 12 points (5g-7a) in his last 18 outings. He ranks second on the team and fifth among all League skaters in average ice time (26:25). The Bern, Switzerland native is one of just three blueliners in the NHL this season (Ryan Ellis and Kevin Shattenkirk), and one of three in franchise history, to record multiple shootout tallies.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
• Michael Del Zotto is two assists from 100 career helpers.
• Ryan Ellis is one goal from establishing a career high in goals.
• Patric Hornqvist is four goals shy of becoming the fourth Preds draftee to hit the 100-goal plateau and one goal shy of the sixth-most power-play goals in franchise history (35). He is also four points shy of 200 career points.
• Eric Nystrom is four points shy of establishing a career high.
• Viktor Stalberg is two games from 300 career games.
• Colin Wilson is one assist from setting a career high (21).
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 4, Buffalo 1 at First Niagara Center
• The Preds won back-to-back road games for the first time since Nov. 19-21, 2013 (at Detroit and Toronto).
• Nashville improved to 5-1-2 in Atlantic Division buildings.
• Nashville posted its first power-play goal in six games with Nick Spaling’s first-period goal. The Preds power play ranks ninth in the League (20.1 percent).
• Colin Wilson posted his fourth multi-point game (2a) of the season. Wilson’s second helper on Tuesday tied his career high (20) set during the 2011-12 season. The Greenwich, Conn., native has three points (3a) in his last two outings after posting two points (2a) in his previous 20 games.
• Paul Gaustad posted his ninth goal in his 66th game this season with an empty-netter late in the third. That goals total equals his total from the previous two seasons combined (93 games).
• Carter Hutton stopped 24-of-25 shots in his first start since March 1. The Thunder Bay, Ont., native has posted an 8-3-2 record with a 2.52 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage since Jan. 14 (13 games).
• Nashville’s 23 penalty minutes were its third-highest total of the season (25, twice). Gaustad’s 17 penalty minutes were his most since recording a career-high 27 minutes on Dec. 2, 2006 against Washington (with Buffalo).
TROTZ CLIMBS ALL-TIME LISTS
Barry Trotz, the only head coach the Nashville Predators have ever known, ranks 14th on the all-time coaching wins list (547), and is two wins shy of tying Marc Crawford for 13th all-time (549). The Dauphin, Manitoba, native is the longest tenured head coach in the NHL (1,180 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 382-255-11-74 in the 10 seasons since, in addition to posting a 21-21-7 record in the playoffs during that span.
TEAM QUICK HITS
• The Preds have outscored the opposition 5-0 in the past two second periods.
• Nashville ranks among the League’s Top 10 in average penalty minutes (10th, 10.4). The Preds have also been shorthanded the sixth-fewest times in the League (202).
• Nashville has the youngest defensive corps in the League (24.02 years). Only two other teams in the NHL have an average defensive age under 26 (including players on IR): Ottawa (25.32 years) and Washington (25.35 years).
• The Preds have not allowed a shorthanded goal since March 21, 2013, when Calgary scored two shorthanded – a span of 84 games. Nashville is the only team in the League not to have allowed a shorthanded goal this season.
• Nashville is first in 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 52 of their 66 games.
STORYLINES VS. CHICAGO
The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks play the third game, and first on United Center ice, of their 2013-14 season series on Friday night. The Preds will return to Chicago in nine days, before the two teams will close out the series on April 12 in the Music City. The Preds and Hawks are an even 39-39-(2)-8 in 88 all-time matchups, but Chicago holds the 17-23-(1)-3 advantage in the Windy City.
These teams last met on Dec. 17, 2013 in Nashville as they traded goals in the first 3:03 of play with Patrick Sharp and Shea Weber both finding the back of the net. Patrick Kane would cap off the opening period with a goal of his own. Nick Leddy added another for Chicago as they took home the 3-1 victory at Bridgestone Arena.
Patric Hornqvist (5g-5a-10pts, 10gp) and Mike Fisher (3g-4a-7pts, 8gp) are both producing at nearly a point-per-game clip or better against Chicago since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign… Viktor Stalberg played the previous three seasons with the Blackhawks, posting 90 points (43g-47a) in 203 games, and winning the 2013 Stanley Cup with them.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS vs. CHICAGO
• Victor Barley recorded a career-high two assists on April 19, 2013 at Chicago.
• Carter Hutton made his NHL debut with Chicago on April 27, 2013 vs. St. Louis.
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