Preds Host Eastern Conference Foe
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. BUFFALO
The Predators host the Buffalo Sabres for just the seventh time in franchise history tonight at the Sommet Center, the first of 18 games the club will play against the Eastern Conference this season. Nashville last welcomed the Sabres to Nashville on Dec. 21, 2006. The Predators are 6-4-2 all-time against Buffalo, most recently claiming a 2-0 decision at HSBC Arena on Dec. 1, 2008. By turning aside all 30 shots he faced that evening, Pekka Rinne
picked up his first career shutout – the first in a stretch of three whitewashes in five starts over the next three weeks. J.P. Dumont led the offensive charge for Nashville in the victory, assisting on Jason Arnott’s game-winning goal while notching an insurance marker of his own in the final 10 minutes of play.
Tonight also marks the clash of top two coaches in active tenure with a single team. Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff, brought on prior to the 1997-98 season, ranks first among active coaches and fifth in NHL history in games coached with one team (904) – he is only 10 contests away from tying the legendary Toe Blake (Montreal) for fourth place, and ranks third behind only Al Arbour (N.Y. Islanders, 739) and Glen Sather (Edmonton, 464) in wins with one franchise (439). Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz ranks second on both the active games coached (822) and wins list with a single team (366), and eighth on both of those lists in NHL history. He is poised to tie seventh-place Sather (842) on the games coached list on Nov. 23 vs. Detroit, and is just four victories away from Punch Imlach (Toronto, 370), for seventh on that list.
All-time series highlight: Vladimir Orszagh notched the fifth hat trick in franchise history as part of a four-point effort (3g-1a) on Nov. 29, 2003. Nashville won the game 4-1, its last victory over Buffalo at the Sommet Center.
Dumont spent seasons 3-7 of his NHL career (2000-06) with the Sabres, amassing 223 points (102g-121a) in 362 games. He also posted 21 points (11g-10a) in 31 playoff games with Buffalo, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006… Since joining the Predators, Arnott has four goals in three games… David Legwand
has seven points (4g-3a) in nine career games against Buffalo, the second highest point total for him against an Eastern foe.
TEAM QUICK HITS
The Predators are 2-0-0 for the third time in franchise history. They last attained the feat in 2007-08, and also did it in 2005-06 as part of their franchise-record eight wins to start the season… Nashville went 8-8-2 against the Eastern Conference in 2008-09, including a 3-2-0 record against the Northeast Division… The Predators current roster has an average age of 27 years, nine months. That is with tied Dallas, Phoenix and Vancouver for the 12th-youngest team in the league.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
Second-year forward Patric Hornqvist
and captain Jason Arnott have posted four points each (2g-2a) through two games this season. For Arnott, it is the third consecutive season he has posted two goals and two assists through a pair of games. For Hornqvist, the two goals (both scored Thursday) matched last season’s 28-game output… Steve Sullivan
has points (1g-1a) in each of the first two games of 2009-10, giving him 14 points (4g-10a) in his last 11 games dating back to March 26, 2009 vs. San Jose.
NOT NASHVILLE’S “MR. IRRELEVANT”
Since the implementation of the modern amateur entry draft in 1969, eight of 41 players selected with the final pick of the draft have gone on to play at least one NHL game. Of those eight, just three have appeared in at least 50 games. Patric Hornqvist
, who the Predators selected with the last pick (230th overall) in the 2005 Draft, joined the group of last picks to appear in the league last season, and with four points (2g-2a) through two games in 2009-10, ranks fourth in career points among the group.
2005- Patric Hornqvist (NSH) LW, 30gp 4-7-11
2002- Jonathan Ericsson (DET) D, 30gp 3-4-7
1997- Jay Henderson (EDM) LW, 33gp 1-3-4
1994- Kim Johnsson (NYR) D, 682gp 61-208-269
1993- Hans Jonsson (PIT) D, 242 gp 10-38-48
1988- Sergei Priakin (CGY) RW, 46gp 3-8-11
1987- Igor Viazmikin (EDM) RW, 4gp 1-0-1
1980- Andy Brickley (PHI) LW, 385gp 82-140-222
1979- Blair Barnes (L.A) RW, 1gp 0-0-0
Players in italics are active. Stats through Thursday’s games