PREDATORS (31-31-11) AT BLACKHAWKS (44-21-6)
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Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates.
Defenseman Roman Josi tallied the Preds first two goals on Tuesday against Colorado, his second career multi-goal game. The first came on Feb. 25, 2013 vs. Dallas as part of a four-point performance (2g-2a). With Tuesday’s two goals, Josi became the eighth Preds player this season to reach double digits in goals, adding to his current stretch of recording points in his last 26 games (7g-12a-19pts). Nashville is the only Western Conference team with two defensemen to have 10 or more goals (Weber, 18) and one of only three teams in the NHL to have multiple defenseman in the double digits (Boston, Pittsburgh).
In Sunday’s win at Chicago, Josi saw a career high in minutes (32:41), the fifth time this season he has played more than 31 minutes in a game. He ranks second on the team and fifth among all League skaters in average ice time (26:26). The Bern, Switzerland native is one of just three blueliners in the NHL this season (teammate Ryan Ellis and St. Louis Blue d-man Kevin Shattenkirk), and one of three in franchise history, to record multiple shootout tallies.
NORRIS CALIBER CAPTAIN
Weber has been one of the League’s top point-producing defensemen since Dec. 12, 2013, posting 33 points (11g-22a) in 42 games during that span, including two goals in the Preds win Friday night against Calgary.
•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 (18g-28a-46pts).
•He is one of four defensemen (Erik Karlsson, OTT; P.K. Subban, MTL; and Keith Yandle, PHX) to lead their team in scoring and last season (12-13) became the first Preds defenseman to lead the team in points.
•Weber is third among League defensemen in goals, while his 10 power-play goals pace all blueliners and rank among the League’s Top 10 skaters.
•His team-leading 24 power-play points (10g-14a) are good for third among League defensemen and rank among the Top 10 skaters.
•Half of Weber’s 18 goals have come in the first period. The Preds are 13-1-2 when their captain finds the back of the net.
•The Sicamous, B.C, native ranks fourth in the League in average ice time (26:56). Weber played 34:14 during Sunday’s win in Chicago, a career-high and the fourth time this season that he has played more than 31 minutes.
•Weber leads his team and is tied for 13th in the NHL in blocked shots (149). He also leads the team in hits (149), 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 (101), second in points (267), first in power-play goals (46), first in game-winning goals (16) and eighth in hits (1,006).
JARNKROK CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
In his first three NHL games since becoming the Preds eighth rookie to make his debut on Friday night in Calgary, forward Calle Jarnkrok has recorded three assists, his latest coming on Roman Josi’s second goal Tuesday night. In addition to tallying his third assist in as many games, the Galve, Sweden native converted on his first career shootout attempt, beating Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov with a backhand shot.
Jarnkrok is one of only two Preds players to record at least one point in his first three NHL games, the other was Marek Zidlicky (who was too old to be considered a rookie when he made his NHL debut). Zidlicky recorded a point in each of his first six games from Oct. 9-23, 2003.
Prior to his first career recall on March 20, Jarnkrok posted seven points (5g-2a) in five games with the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) after being acquired on Deadline Day (March 5). He leads the Admirals with 43 points (18g-25a) in 62 games during his first North American season. He was recently rated No. 41 in The Hockey News’ Top 50 NHL-affiliated prospects.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
•Matt Cullen has six points (3g-3a) in his last three games. Cullen’s two goal effort on Tuesday was his first multi-goal performance since Feb. 21, 2013 as a member of the Minnesota Wild. His four points (1g-3a) on Friday in Calgary matched a career-high mark he has set three times before, the most recent being Nov. 21 against Toronto. The Preds have not lost a game in regulation when Cullen finds the back of the net (5-0-2).
•Mike Fisher has points in three straight games games (1g-2a), and 12 points (5g-7a) in his last 19 outings. He leads all Preds forwards in ice time (19:38) – nearly three minutes higher than the next closest forward (Hornqvist, 16:42). Fisher also leads team forwards in blocked shots (66) and ranks second hits (125).
•Patric Hornqvist has 13 points (4g-9a) in his last 18 games and six points (2g-4a) in his last six games, moving him into third in team scoring (14g-25a-39pts). The Sollentuna, Sweden native’s 213 shots lead the team and rank among the League’s Top 30 skaters. Half of Hornqvist’s 14 goals this season have come in the second period.
•Nick Spaling has 11 points (6g-5a) in his last 18 outings. The Preds are 10-2-1 when Spaling 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.
•Ryan Ellis has tallied assists in back-to-back games, tying his career longest assist streak. His two assists on Tuesday against Colorado marked the third year defenseman’s third multi-assist game of the season, two of which have come against the Avalanche.
•Barry Trotz, the only head coach in Preds history, is 13th all-time in coaching wins (550). The Dauphin, Manitoba, native is the longest tenured head coach in the NHL (1,187) and has the second-longest active tenure in all four major sports behind the San Antonio Spurs’ Head Coach Gregg Popovich.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
•Shea Weber is two games from 600 career NHL games. He is also seven points shy of tying his career points high (53 points (23g-30a) set during the 2008-09 season).
•Patric Hornqvist is two goals shy of becoming the fourth Preds draftee to hit the 100-goal plateau.
•Michael Del Zotto is one assist from 100 career helpers.
•Eric Nystrom is three goals from tying his career high (16) and four points shy of establishing a career points high (currently 21 points (16g-5a) set during the 2011-12 season).
•Colin Wilson is one assist from setting a career high (21) and eight points shy of tying his career points high (35 points (15g-20a) set during the 2011-12 season).
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 4, Colorado 5 SO at Bridgestone Arena
•Josi, whose two goals tied a career high, put six shots on goal, one shy of his career high. Josi directed five additional shots at the Avs’ Semyon Varlamov (4 attempts blocked, 1 miss).
•This was the first game that the Predators have had no penalties assessed against them since Jan. 21, 2010 at Phoenix.
•Nashville’s record in the shootout fell to 1-8 in 2013-14.
•The Preds have earned points in 19 of 20 games in which they’ve scored four goals or more (15-1-4), and in all 23 where they have led after 40 minutes (19-0-4).
TEAM QUICK HITS
•The Preds are 13-12-2 against the Eastern Conference this season.
•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 89 games. Nashville is the only team in the League not to have allowed a shorthanded goal this season.
•Nashville is third in the League lead in team face-off win percentage (52.8 percent). The Preds have been 50 percent or better in the face-off circle in 55 of their 73 games.
•The Preds have scored a goal in eight of the last nine regulation periods, totaling 12 goals in that span.
STORYLINES VS. BUFFALO
The Nashville Predators and Buffalo Sabres last met on March 11 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. The Sabres’ Drew Stafford scored just two minutes into the game, Buffalo’s only tally. The Preds Nick Spaling tied the game at 1-1 with three minutes left in the first period and Shea Weber scored three and a half minutes into the second, the goal that would stand as the game-winner. Craig Smith and Paul Gaustad also added goals in the Preds 4-1 victory.
Buffalo last visited Music City on Dec. 3, 2011, a 3-2 victory for the Sabres at Bridgestone Arena. Buffalo jumped out to an early lead with a two-goal opening period and scored again in the third to down the Preds. Craig Smith recorded one of Nashville’s two goals.
Mike Fisher has 33 points (8g-25a) in 55 games against the Sabres for his career. That is his highest assist total and second highest point total (Toronto) against a single team… Michael Del Zotto has seven points (7a) in 16 games against Buffalo… Colin Wilson has four points (4a) in three career games against the Sabres… Pekka Rinne stopped all 30 Buffalo shots to record his first career NHL shutout on Dec. 1, 2008… Paul Gaustad was drafted by Buffalo in the seventh round (220th overall) of the 2000 Entry Draft. In 479 career games with the Sabres, he amassed 181 points (71g-110a) and 585 penalty minutes.
15th ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
March 29, 2010 – Hornqvist hits 30
Patric Hornqvist scored his 30th goal of the season in a 3-2 victory at Florida, making him the first Predators draft pick to hit the 30-goal mark. Hornqvist netted the equalizer at 16:53 in the third period, knotting the score at 2-2 and sending the game into overtime.
The 2009-10 campaign was a big one for the Sollentuna, Sweden native. In his first full season in the NHL, the last overall draft pick in the 2005 Entry Draft (230th overall) tied fellow forward Steve Sullivan for the team lead in scoring with 51 points on the year. His 30 goals is the fourth-highest total in franchise history.
Hornqvist’s eight game-winning goals during the 2009-10 season are tied for the franchise record and were good enough for second in the League. He also set a franchise record for shots in a season with 275.
Hornqvist had the fewest NHL games experience (108) and the lowest average ice time (15:41) among the NHL’s Top 20 goal scorers in 2009-10.
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