The Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes, face off on Thursday night in the first of two meetings this season. Nashville will travel to PNC Arena one month from Thursday on Jan. 5, 2014. Nashville has posted wins in six of its last seven games against the Canes, and has points in eight of nine dating back to Dec. 3, 2003 (6-1-(0)-2 record). Nashville is 7-1-0 on Bridgestone Arena ice, and is 11-4-(1)-1 in 17 all-time matchups against Carolina.
In their last meeting on Feb. 28, 2012, the Hurricanes escaped with a 4-3 win at PNC Arena. Gabriel Bourque, who was in the midst of his first-career point streak (1g-3a-4pts, three games) posted the first multi-point game of his career (1g-1a), while Craig Smith and Colin Wilson added goals for Nashville.
In the Canes last trip to the Music City on Jan. 7, 2012, the Predators notched four power-play goals on their way to a 5-2 win. Patric Hornqvist had two power-play markers on the night, while Shea Weber, Craig Smith and Ryan Ellis – who tallied his first career NHL goal – all scored for the Preds. Pekka Rinne made 27 saves as he began a stretch that would see him post a franchise-record 11 straight wins.
Mike Fisher has 24 points (12g-12a) in 34 career games against the Hurricanes… Gabriel Bourque (1g-1a-2pts, 2gp) is performing at a point-per-game pace against the Canes, while Ryan Ellis has two points (1g-1a) in one game against Carolina… Matt Cullen played 266 games in two different stints for the Hurricanes from 2005-06 and 2007-10, posting 181 points (72g-109a). Cullen won the 2006 Stanley Cup as a member of the Hurricanes, after posting a career-high 49 points (25g-24a) in 78 regular-season games, and adding 18 points (4g-14a) en route to the Cup. As a member of the opposition, Cullen has 11 points (3g-8a) in 23 career games against Carolina.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS VS. CAROLINA
Mike Fisher posted his most recent three-assist game on Jan. 7, 2012.
Ryan Ellis scored his first career goal on Jan. 7, 2012 (Justin Peters).
ROOKIE OF THE MONTH
Rookie goaltender Marek Mazanec was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November after posting a 5-4-1 record with a 2.00 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and two shutouts in 11 appearances last month.
• In Tuesday’s loss to the Canucks, Mazanec surrendered more than two goals for the first time since Nov. 15 at Pittsburgh – a span of nine starts. The first-year netminder stopped 30-of-33 shots, posting a save percentage of better than .900 for a ninth consecutive game.
• The Pisek, Czech Republic native is 5-5-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and two shutouts. He ranks among the League leaders (minimum nine appearances) in both goals-against average (10th) and save percentage (11th).
• Mazanec has also played the third-fewest minutes (688:04) among goaltenders with multiple shutouts this season (2).
• David Legwand has 13 points (4g-9a) in his last 16 outings to lead the team with 20 points (5g-15a) in 28 games. Thirteen (5g-8a) of Legwand’s 20 points have come away from the Music City.
• Matt Cullen has posted nine points (3g-6a), including three multi-point outings, in his last nine games. He is one of only three players 37 years old or older to play for Nashville (Hal Gill and Martin Gelinas).
• Since becoming a father for the first time on Nov. 13, Gabriel Bourque has posted eight points (3g-5a) in 10 games, including four points (1g-3a) in his last five.
• Craig Smith has seven points (3g-4a) in his last nine outings. Smith ranks second in team scoring (6g-9a-15pts) and shots (71).
• Patric Hornqvist has two points (2a) in two games since returning to the lineup on Saturday after missing three games with an upper-body injury. Tuesday’s night assist against Vancouver gives him 10 points (3g-7a) in his last 15 games to move into a tie for second in goals and team scoring (6g-9a-15pts). The Sollentuna, Sweden native also leads the team with 75 shots.
• Seth Jones leads all first-year players in average time on ice (23:55), nearly three minutes more than the next closest rookie (Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba). He has recorded the top six ice times by rookies this season, while playing more than half the game on two occasions. The Frisco, Texas native is tied for 18th in points among first-year players (3g-6a-9pts), 14th in goals (3), 13th in shots on goal (43) and first in blocked shots (52), while ranking third in power-play goals and power-play points (2g-3a-5pts) among rookies.
• Kevin Klein, who is currently day-to-day with a lower-body injury, leads the team and ranks 14th in the League with 58 blocked shots.
• When the Preds score first they hold onto the lead, going 11-1-2 in those contests.
• Six of Nashville’s 13 wins this season have come by one goal – it is 6-0-3 in one-goal games.
• Nashville is 13-1-2 when scoring more than one goal, and 11-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.
• Nashville’s power play ranks 11th in the League (19.3 percent), while its home power play remains among the League’s Top 15 (14th, 19.4 percent).
• The Preds’ penalty kill ranks 10th in the League (84.6 percent), and has allowed the seventh-fewest power-play goals (14). Nashville’s home penalty kill continues to improve as it now ranks 13th in the League (83.7 percent).
• Nashville’s penalty kill has allowed just one goal on their last 25 times shorthanded, and have only surrendered four power-play goals on 41 times shorthanded in their last 12 outings (90.2 percent).
• The Preds recently tied the second-longest streak in franchise history after not allowing a power-play goal in eight consecutive games. (Nov. 16-Nov. 30; the longest streak is nine games from Nov. 18-Dec. 4, 2010).
• The Preds have not allowed a shorthanded goal since March 21, 2013, when Calgary scored two shorthanded goals – a span of 48 games. Nashville is the only team in the League not to have allowed a shorthanded goal this season.
• The Predators have had seven rookies appear in the lineup this season. They had eight rookies appear last season, and 11 during the 2011-12 campaign. Nashville is also one of two teams in the NHL to field multiple teenagers in its lineup (Filip Forsberg, 19 and Seth Jones, 19), only Buffalo has had more teenagers on its roster this season (four).
Colin Wilson has posted goals in back-to-back games for the first time this season, and for the fifth time in his career, after tallying Nashville’s lone goal on Tuesday.
• Wilson scored on a season-high five shots on goal on Tuesday, just one shot shy of his career high (six; Nov. 5, 2011 at San Jose).
• The Greenwich, Conn., native has five points (2g-3a) in his last seven outings, and now ranks fourth in team scoring (5g-9a-14pts).
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 1, Vancouver 3 at Bridgestone Arena
• Mattias Ekholm tied a career high with three shots.
• Roman Josi tied for the team lead with a season-high five shots on goal – his career high is six shots (four times; last, April 4, 2013). Josi also tallied an assist on Wilson’s second-period goal, giving him two points (2a) in his last four.
• Seth Jones led Nashville in ice time with 29:40, including 4:57 shorthanded. This is his second consecutive game over 29 minutes (30:43 vs. Philadelphia). Jones is third in average ice time on the Preds this season (23:55), behind only Shea Weber (26:09) and Roman Josi (24:19). Jones added five blocked shots in the game.
• Nashville finished with 31 shots, the third consecutive game in which the team has put more than 30 pucks on goal.
• Vancouver’s 18 shots in the second period tied for most shots allowed in a frame this season (Nov. 16 vs. Chicago).
SOLID IN THE CIRCLE
The Predators are tied for the League lead in team face-off win percentage this season (54.5 percent). Nashville has been better than 50 percent in the face-off circle in 24 of its 28 games. Nashville is led in the face-off circle by Paul Gaustad, who has won 282-of-464 face-offs (60.8 percent) to lead the League in the category (minimum 325 draws). Matt Cullen also ranks among the League’s top face-off men (sixth, 57.8 percent), winning 197-of-341 draws.
With seven goals on the season, Shea Weber – who is currently day-to-day with an upper-body injury – is tied with Erik Karlsson (OTT), Torey Krug (BOS), and Michael Stone (PHX) for the goal-scoring lead among blueliners (7). Nashville’s captain is the only defenseman in the League to lead his team in goal scoring.
• The Preds are 7-0-0 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• The Sicamous, B.C., native ranks sixth on the team in points (7g-5a-12pts).
• Weber has led Nashville in ice time in 16 of the last 20 games he’s played to rank seventh in the League in the category (26:09).
• Nashville’s captain ranks second on the team in hits (62) and blocked shots (54).
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
Nashville has posted a 6-5-2 record at home in 2013-14. The Predators have been one of the League’s best teams on home ice since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, compiling 198 home victories, tied for the fourth most in the NHL in that span and just two wins behind Vancouver for third. Nashville is the only team in the NHL to post at least 23 home victories in seven consecutive full seasons.
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