PREDATORS (32-32-11) AT CAPITALS (34-28-12)
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Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates.
JARNKRORK NOTCHES ANOTHER
Twenty-four hours after scoring his first career goal in a 6-1 win over Buffalo on Thursday, Predators rookie Calle Jarnkrok notched an assist on Friday at Dallas, giving him points (1g-4a) in all five career NHL games he’s played. The Galve, Sweden native is one of only two Preds players to record at least one point in his first five 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.
HORNQVIST ONE SHY OF 100
Patric Hornqvist found the back of the net for the 15th time this season on Friday at Dallas, giving him eight points (3g-5a) in his last eight games and 15 points (5g-10a) in his last 20 games dating back to Jan. 28. The goal was the 99th of the Sollentuna, Sweden native’s career, bringing him to within one of becoming the sixth player in franchise history, and fourth Preds draftee, to hit the 100-goal plateau.
Hornqvist, who was drafted last overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, has the most goals all-time (99) among last picks. With 204 career points, he ranks third in points in the category behind Kim Johnsson (1994, 284pts) and Andy Brickley (1980, 222pts).
His recent streak has moved him into sole possession of third in team scoring (14g-26a-40pts). The Sollentuna, Sweden native also put nine shots on goal in Dallas on Friday, a season high by any Preds player. His 224 shots lead the team and rank among the League’s Top 30 skaters. Eight of Hornqvist’s 15 goals this season have come in the second period.
WEBER PLAYS 600TH CAREER GAME
Predators Captain Shea Weber, who played in his 600th career NHL game on Friday night in Dallas, has been one of the League’s top point-producing defensemen since the calendar turned to 2014. In 2013 (37 games), Weber had 22 points (9g-13a), with one game-winning goal and was a -13. In 2014 (35 games), he has recorded 26 points (11g-15a), tallying three game-winning goals and is a +4.
• With two goals on Thursday night vs. Buffalo, Weber moved into a tie for first among League defensemen in goals (20, Erik Karlsson, OTT, Dustin Byfuglien, WPG), while his 11 power-play goals pace all blueliners and rank among the League’s Top 10 skaters.
• Nashville’s captain is the 10th player in franchise history to hit the 20-goal mark more than once, and the first defenseman to achieve the feat.
• He is one of four defensemen (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.
• His team-leading 25 power-play points (11g-14a) are good for third among League defensemen and rank among the Top 10 skaters.
• Weber has recorded two multi-goal games in his past five games (March 21 vs. Calgary, March 27 vs. Buffalo). The Preds are 14-1-2 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• The Sicamous, B.C, native ranks fourth in the League in average ice time (26:51). Weber played 34:14 last Sunday (March 23) 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 12th in the NHL in blocked shots (155). He also leads the team in hits (150), making him the first player since the NHL started keeping the hits and blocked shots categories annually in 2005-06, to post 20 goals, 150 blocked shots and 150 hits.
• Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, Weber ranks first among NHL defensemen in goals (103), second in points (269), first in power-play goals (47), first in game-winning goals (16) and eighth in hits (1,007).
FOURTH LINE FURY
The Preds line of Rich Clune, Eric Nystrom and Colton Sissons has combined for eight points (3g-5a) in the last two games. Eric Nystrom has scored in back-to-back games, in addition to picking up an assist on Sissons’ first career goal on Thursday vs. Buffalo, helping him move to within one of his career goals high (15), and into a tie for his career points high (21), both of which were set in 2011-12 with Dallas (16g-5a-21pts). Clune notched his second career two-assist performance on Thursday, and has points (3a) in two straight games, tying a career-high mark that he has met twice before (last (2a), March 19-21, 2013). Sissons has points in back-to-back games for the first time in his career (1g-1a).
PLAYER QUICK HITS
• Roman Josi has tallied five points (2g-3a) in his last five games to move into the Top 30 in scoring among League defenseman. On Tuesday against Colorado, he scored the Preds first two goals, his second career multi-goal game.
• Matt Cullen has seven points (3g-4a) in his last five games. Cullen’s two-goal effort on Tuesday vs. Colorado was his first multi-goal performance since Feb. 21, 2013 as a member of the Minnesota Wild. The Preds have not lost a game in regulation when Cullen finds the back of the net (6-0-2).
• Mike Fisher has points in four of his last five games (1g-3a). He leads all Preds forwards in ice time (19:36) – nearly three minutes higher than the next closest forward (Hornqvist, 16:41). Fisher also leads team forwards in blocked shots (67) and ranks second hits (133).
• Gabriel Bourque has reached the score sheet in five of his last seven appearances (2g-3a).
• Barry Trotz, the only head coach in Preds history, is 13th all-time in coaching wins (551). The Dauphin, Manitoba, native is the longest tenured head coach in the NHL (1,189) and has the second-longest active tenure in all four major sports behind the San Antonio Spurs’ Head Coach Gregg Popovich.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
• Patric Hornqvist is one goal 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 one goal from tying his career high (16).
• Colin Wilson is one assist from setting a career high (21) and seven points shy of tying his career points high (35 points (15g-20a) set during the 2011-12 season).
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 3, Dallas 7 at American Airlines Center
• Michael Del Zotto tallied his first goal as Predator since joining the team in January.
• Mike Fisher’s seven hits tied a season-high mark, the second time this season he has achieved the number (March 10 at Ottawa).
• Nashville was assessed just one minor penalty, and has been shorthanded just four times in the last three games. It is tied for eighth in fewest penalty minutes per game (10.0), and fourth in times shorthanded (218).
• Nashville outhit Dallas 36-14.
TEAM QUICK HITS
• 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).
• Nashville is the only Western Conference team with two defenseman that have 10 or more goals (Shea Weber, 20/Roman Josi, 10), and one of only three teams in the NHL to have multiple defenseman reach double digits in goals (Boston, Pittsburgh).
• 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 tied for second 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 57 of their 75 games.
• The Preds have scored a goal in 13 of the last 15 regulation periods, totaling 21 goals in that span.
STORYLINES VS. WASHINGTON
On Sunday night, the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals square off in the Music City for the first time since Nov. 15, 2011, when the two top goaltenders in Predators history, Pekka Rinne and Tomas Vokoun, faced off against each other. In the Preds 3-1 victory, Rinne recorded 40 saves and Shea Weber tallied two points (1g-1a).
In the two team’s meeting earlier this season on Dec. 7 in the Nation’s capital, both teams found the back of the net twice in the third period, but Washington’s three tallies in the first period set the tone for the Caps 5-2 victory at the Verizon Center. The Preds two goals came from Roman Josi and Eric Nystrom.
Both Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile and Head Coach Barry Trotz have hockey roots in D.C. Trotz spent five seasons (1992-97) as head coach of the Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate Baltimore Skipjacks and Portland Pirates, coaching the Pirates to two Calder Cup Finals appearances and a Calder Cup Championship in 1995. Poile began his management career in 1982 when he was named general manager of the Capitals. In Poile’s 15 years with the club, the Caps compiled a record of 596-454-124 (.559), ranking among the NHL’s top-five teams during that span.
Matt Cullen leads all Preds skaters with 28 points (9g-19a) in 43 career games against the Caps… Mike Fisher has 21 points (10g-11a) in 33 career games against Washington, including the only hat trick of his career on Dec. 29, 2007 (Olaf Kolzig)… Shea Weber has seven points (2g-5a) in eight career games against the Capitals… Michael Del Zotto has seven points (7a) in 18 career games against Washington.
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
March 30, 2012 – The franchise’s 500th victory
Nashville recorded the 500th regular-season victory in club history with a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on March 30, 2012. The Predators hit the milestone in 1,062 games, the fewest in the post-1990 expansion era. With the win, David Poile became the first general manager to guide two separate clubs to 500 wins (Washington), while Barry Trotz became just the fifth bench boss to post 500 wins with a single team.
"It feels good for our franchise," Trotz said. "Sort of like we've arrived.”
The first period was a defensive bout, as the teams combined for only 16 shots on goal. The Red Wings came out firing in the second period, outshooting the Predators 17-9, but Pekka Rinne was up to the task, turning them all away. Gabriel Bourque finally broke through at the 13:05 mark in the second period to put the Predators ahead, 1-0. Francis Bouillon snuck the puck out of a rugby-style scrum in front of the net and caught Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard off guard to put the Predators up 2-0 at the 19:27 mark of the third, and Nashville added a dagger just 2:40 into the third to take a commanding three-goal lead.
Jiri Hudler spoiled Rinne’s shutout bid with 3:03 remaining when he flicked a shot into the open net off of Henrik Zetterberg’s cross-crease pass, but Shea Weber added an empty-net goal in the final minutes to punctuate the Predators’ 500th franchise victory.
The win was a gigantic leap toward securing the No. 4 seed in the 2012 playoffs where they would face, and defeat, the same Red Wings squad.
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