TODAY’S STORYLINES VS. FLORIDA
For the second consecutive season, the Panthers and the Predators are inter-conference “wild card” opponents, meaning they will play each other both at home and on the road – New Jersey and Atlanta are Nashville’s other Eastern Conference wild card foes. The other game in this season series will come in South Florida on March 29, Nashville’s only game outside the West after March 18. This is the 14th all-time meeting between the clubs dating back to Oct. 10, 1998, when the Predators played their inaugural game, a 1-0 loss at the Sommet Center. Kirk McLean posted the 25-save shutout that night, while Ray Whitney provided the lone goal. The home team has not lost in series since Dec. 23, 2002, and Nashville is unbeaten in its last five when hosting the Panthers (3-0-(2)-0), dating back to Oct. 27, 2000. A season ago, the clubs split a pair of games, with Nashville claiming a 3-2 shootout victory on home ice on Nov. 1, 2008 and Florida winning 3-0 at the BankAtlantic Center. Martin Erat
sparked the win last November, scoring the game-tying goal with 10:09 left in regulation, then tallying the lone goal of the shootout. Shea Weber
also scored for Nashville.
All-time series highlight:
Two seasons ago – on Oct. 27, 2007 – Jerred Smithson
scored the game winner with less than 13 seconds remaining in regulation in a 4-3 Nashville win at the Sommet Center.
Left wing Wade Belak
was acquired by the Predators from Florida on Nov. 28, 2008 in exchange for Nick Tarnasky. Belak played 32 games for the Panthers from 2008-09, amassing 37 penalty minutes… In eight career games against Florida, David Legwand
has seven points (1g-6a)…Steve Sullivan
has 16 points (9g-7a) in 18 contests against the Panthers.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Panthers
J.P. Dumont – Notched his third career hat trick (and most recent) on Nov. 12, 2001 (with Buffalo).
Dan Hamhuis – Put a career-high seven shots on net on Dec. 13, 2005.
– A career-high four goals on April 10, 1999 (with Toronto).
TEAM QUICK HITS
The Predators are 11-3-0 in their last 14 games, outscoring the opposition 40-30 in that span… Nashville has gone 10-for-30 (33.3 percent) on the power play over the last seven games. The Predators have also scored at least one power-play goal in seven of their last eight home games, going 10-for-36 (27.8 percent) in those games. Nashville is a perfect 12-0-0 when scoring with the man advantage… The penalty kill has been perfect in seven of the last nine games, killing 22-of-24 (91.7 percent) in that span. Since Oct. 29, Nashville has moved from 27th in the NHL’s PK rankings on Oct. 29, to 14th. On home ice, Nashville has killed off 24 of the 26 opportunities against (92.3 percent)… Special teams have scored eight of Nashville’s last 12 goals going back to the third period against New Jersey on Nov. 19, and 12 of the last 18 going back to the third period against Montreal on Nov. 14… The Predators have been shorthanded the second-fewest times in the League (78, 3.25 per game) and are averaging the NHL’s fewest penalty minutes per game (8.5)… Nashville is 14-2-1 when scoring more than one goal, and 10-1-0 when scoring the first goal of the game the League’s second-best winning percent (.909) in that situation… The Predators have the league’s fourth-best winning percentage (8-4-0, .667) when outshooting the opposition… All 13 of Nashville’s wins this season – and its last 22 wins dating back to March 3, 2009 – have been decided by two goals or fewer. Of the 22, 15 of the wins have been by one goal. In 2009-10, the Predators eight one-goal victories are tied for four in the NHL, while their six two-goal victories are second.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
took his first loss since Nov. 5 at Anaheim last night against St. Louis, snapping a personal seven-game winning streak, which tied for a franchise record. Rinne is tied for the most wins in the NHL during the month of November (7), and since coming off the bench to earn the victory in a 4-3 victory at Minnesota on Oct. 28, Rinne is 10-2-0, the most wins in the League since that date. In those 12 games he has a 1.86 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and a pair of shutouts… David Legwand
has points (2g-3a) in four consecutive games since his son Ryder was born just hours before game time on Nov. 21, his longest such streak since a five-gamer from Feb. 24-March 5 of last season. Legwand also has seven points (3g-4a) in his last six games… Jordin Tootoo
has assists in a career-high three consecutive games (3a). The three-game point streak (3a) also ties a career high attained March 14-18, 2006 (2g-1a)… Shea Weber
is tied for first among League defensemen in power-play goals (4), and tied for second among NHL blueliners in goals (6). Weber has six points (1g-5a) in his last seven games, and is tied for 12th in d-man points (15)… Jason Arnott has six points (4g-2a) in his last five games, while Martin Erat
has five points (3g-2a) in his last four.