Preds Open Central Division Stretch
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. COLUMBUS
Nashville and Columbus clash for the second of three times in the Music City tonight, with the Predators first trip to Ohio’s capital city coming in four days. Tonight is also the first of three matchups between the clubs in the month of December, with the last coming on New Year’s Eve at Nationwide Arena. In the first of six 2009-10 meetings of the teams on Nov. 21, the Predators extended their home winning streak against the Blue Jackets to 12 games dating back to Nov. 18, 2006 with a 4-3 shootout decision. Martin Erat
(1g-1a) and David Legwand
(1g-1a) led the way for the Predators, while Jason Arnott also scored. Nashville outshot Columbus 48-29 in the game, and converted 2-of-8 power-play opportunities. In the breakaway competition – the third in the last five meetings of the two teams – Mike Santorelli improved to 3-for-3 in his career, while Legwand converted his second career shootout-deciding marker and Pekka Rinne
stopped 2-of-3 shooters. The victory was the fifth of seven consecutive wins Nashville put together between Nov. 12-25, the second-longest such streak in franchise history. Since 2001-02, the Predators are 21-1-2 against the Jackets on home ice, outscoring them 89-46 in that span. Nashville has won the season series in all but Columbus’ first year in existence (2000-01), going 34-8-(1)-4 since 2001-02 and 19-2-2 overall since the start of the 2006-07 campaign. The home team won all six games in 2008-09, and 11 of the last 12 meetings have been won by the home team dating back to Dec. 27, 2007.
Dating back to Nov. 12, 2007, Arnott has points in 10 of the last 11 games he has played against Columbus, amassing 14 points (6g-8a) in that span. He has 35 points (15g-20a) in 34 career games against the Blue Jackets… Erat has 13 points (7g-6a) in his last 13 games against Columbus, including points in seven of his last eight (5g-4a). He has more points (11g-23a) against Columbus than any other team in his career… Legwand has five points (2g-3a) against the Jackets since the start of 2008-09… Shea Weber
has more points against Columbus (5g-7a in 19 games) than any other team in his career… Steve Sullivan
has 40 points (13g-27a) in 37 games against Columbus in his career… In five career appearances against Columbus, Dan Ellis has given up just six goals on 161 shots for a 1.25 goals-against average, a .963 save percentage and a pair of shutouts.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Blue Jackets
– Put a career-high nine shots on goal on Nov. 23, 2005.
– A career high two goals on Jan. 13, 2007. A career high three points/assists on Jan. 21, 2006.
– Sixth career penalty shot on Dec. 23, 2005 against Marc Denis (no goal). A career-high four assists on Feb. 15, 2003.
– A career high six shots on goal on March 31, 2009.
– A career high four points and three assists on Oct. 18, 2008.
MARTIN ERAT NOTCHES SECOND CAREER HAT TRICK
notched one goal in each period to post his second career hat trick on Tuesday night vs. Vancouver, the 15th Predators hat trick on home ice. Nashville’s 12th choice, 191st overall (seventh round), in the 1999 Entry Draft now has both the last home hat trick, and the last road three-goal game, that coming March 4, 2008 when he notched a natural hat trick at Rexall Place in Edmonton. He also tied a career high by assisting on Nashville’s other goal on the night, giving him a four-game point streak (5g-3a), and 13 points (8g-5a) in his last 10 games – he had just four points (1g-3a) in 17 games this season prior to the current 10-game stretch. Erat entered Wednesday night’s action tied for the League lead in goals and points since the beginning of the month (5g-3a). Eight of Trebic, Czech Republic native’s nine goals this season have come on home ice, while six of his eight assists in 2009-10 have come on the road. Erat has scored four of Nashville’s last eight power-play goals after registering just one assist on the club’s first 12 man-advantage goals of the season.
TEAM QUICK HITS
Nashville is 14-5-1 in its last 20 games, and is 9-3-0 in its last 12 home games… Only Phoenix and Chicago (11 each) have more home wins than Nashville’s 10… The Predators power play has gone 3-for-10 in the last two games after an 0-for-16 stretch over the previous five games. Nashville is 13-1-0 when scoring on the power play … Including shootout winners, Nashville has 38 goals in its last 12 games, an average of 3.17 goals per game. In the first 18 games, Nashville scored just 39 times, an average of 2.17 goals per game… The Predators have scored in the first period in 11 of their last 13 games (14 goals). They had just nine first-frame goals in their first 17 games of the season. Additionally, Nashville has given up just five first-frame markers in the last nine games. It had given up four in three first periods prior to the current stretch… Nashville is tied with Atlanta for the most wins (7) in two-goal games. Fifteen of Nashville’s 17 wins have come by two-or-fewer goals… Nashville is 17-3-2 when scoring more than one goal, and 12-2-1 when scoring the first goal of the game, tied for the League’s sixth-best winning percent (.800) in that situation… The Predators are averaging the second-fewest penalty minutes per game (9.1), and have been shorthanded the third-fewest times in the League (96, 3.2 per game)… Nashville plays 11 more games before the calendar turns to January, with seven of those coming against Central Division foes (3 vs. Columbus, 2 vs. Chicago and one each vs. Detroit and St. Louis). Nashville is 5-3-0 this season against intra-divisional opponents.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
Jason Arnott has six points (3g-3a) in his last four games and 13 points (7g-6a) in his last 11 outings… Steve Sullivan
also has six points (1g-5a) in his last four outings, in addition to 13 points (4g-9a) in his last 13 games… Patric Hornqvist
scored his team-leading third game-winning goal of the season on Tuesday. It was also Hornqvist’s first special teams point of the season (power play) after notching his first 10 points of the campaign (5g-5a) while even strength. Five of his six goals have come in the third period… Marcel Goc
has points in three of his last four games (2g-1a) after notching three points (2g-1a in his first 24 outings of the season… David Legwand
has 11 points (4g-7a) in his last 12 games. The club is 4-0-0 this season when he scores… Jordin Tootoo
has six points (1g-5a) in his last nine games, the most productive nine-game stretch of his career.