PREDATORS (9-6-5) at DUCKS (13-3-1)
TV: Fox SportSouth (Dish: 452/HD: 9574; Direct TV: 650/HD: 650-1) ; Comcast Nashville 26/1676; Comcast Chattanooga/Cleveland/Knoxville 58/402/1676; Comcast Memphis 830; Charter Nashville 37; AT&T Nashville 729/1729)
Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates
DYNAMIC DUO RETURNS
Roman Josi posted the first four-point outing (2g-2a) of his career on Monday night, as he beat Christopher Nilstorp 28 seconds into overtime to give the Preds the 5-4 win over Dallas. He posted the Preds second goal of the game and added assists on back-to-back goals for the Preds – Patric Hornqvist’s second period power-play goal and Mike Fisher’s game-tying goal in the third. Josi’s four-point effort was the fifth time in franchise history a defenseman has posted four points in a game. It was also Josi’s second-career multi-point effort – he posted two assists exactly one year earlier against San Jose (Feb. 25, 2012). Monday’s outburst more than doubled his season points total, as the Bern, Switzerland native ranks sixth on the team in scoring with seven points (3g-4a) this season.
Playing in his 500th career game, Shea Weber collected his 10th-career overtime point (5g-5a) with a helper on Josi’s overtime winner. That is the second-highest overtime point total in franchise history – David Legwand is the Preds all-time leader with 17 overtime points (9g-8a). Weber becomes the sixth Predator to take the ice in 500 games (Legwand, Martin Erat, Kimmo Timonen, Ryan Suter and Greg Johnson). Nashville’s captain has been a point-per-game player as of late, collecting seven points (3g-4a) in his last seven outings and is now tied for fourth with eight points (3g-5a) on the season.
After posting 26:33 of ice time on Monday, Weber has now led the Preds in ice time in 17-of-20 games this season. He leads the team in total ice time per game and ranks seventh in the league in the category (26:09). Josi – who has led the team in the other three outings – ranks second in time on ice this season (22:19). That total is nearly four minutes more than his average from a season ago (18:23). Both Josi and Weber led the Preds with a +3 rating on Monday and have moved into second in the category with a +5 rating this season (Sergei Kostitsyn, +7). A season ago, Weber led the team with a career-high +21 rating.
PREDS RELY ON RINNE
In his last 12 appearances going back to Jan. 31, Pekka Rinne’s numbers are tops among starting goaltenders during that span – he is 8-3-1 with a 1.58 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. He also has three shutouts – tied for first in the League – in his last nine starts: a 32-save effort in a 3-0 win on Feb. 7 vs. Los Angeles, a 25-save whitewash in a 1-0 overtime win on Feb. 12 vs. San Jose, and a 19-save performance in a 3-0 win on Feb. 14 against Phoenix. The Kempele, Finland native has 28 shutouts since the start of the 2008-09 season, tops among netminders, while his goals-against average (2.32) and save percentage (.921) rank among the Top Five since then. February has been the strongest month of Rinne’s career to date, after posting a 28-14-9 record, with a 2.00 GAA, .931 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 51 games played. Overall in 2012-13, Rinne is tied for fourth in goals-against average (1.90) and is 10th in save percentage (.926) among starting goaltenders, in addition to ranking second in time on ice (1,075:10) and being tied for fifth in wins (8).
EXTRA TIME HALF THE TIME
The Predators have gone to overtime or a shootout in an NHL-high 10 of their first 20 games in 2012-13, with Monday’s 5-4 overtime victory against Dallas. Thanks to a Roman Josi goal 28 seconds into sudden death, the team improved their record to 5-5 in games that go beyond 60 minutes. Monday’s win was also Nashville’s 100th all-time OT win, and third in the past 13 days – they topped San Jose 1-0 (Colin Wilson, 2:08) on Feb. 12 and Detroit 4-3 (Shea Weber, 0:44) on Feb. 19. The Preds are now 3-1 in the five-minute, four-on-four session, and 2-4 in shootouts. Last season, Nashville needed extra time on 16 occasions in 82 games, tied for the third fewest in the NHL. The Preds didn’t go beyond 60 minutes for the 10th time in 2011-12 until game No. 43 on Jan. 12, 2012 vs. Colorado.
LAST TIME OUT: Dallas 4 at Nashville 5 in overtime
The Predators overcame a two-goal deficit to win for the first time since overcoming a three-goal deficit at Minnesota to win 5-4 on Jan. 31, 2012… Bridgestone Arena was sold out for the 23rd consecutive game… The Predators have collected a point in every game in which they’ve scored first, going 8-0-5… Nashville outshot Dallas 31-24. It was the fourth time in six games the Predators have put more than 30 shots on goal after doing so only once in their first 14 games of 2012-13. It was also the seventh time in eight games the Preds had even or more shots than the opposition after doing so once in their first 12 games… Nashville doubled up Dallas in blocked shots category, 20-10… Mike Fisher scored his 200th career goal to force overtime at 8:22 of the third period… Patric Hornqvist scored Nashville’s first five-on-three goal of 2012-13, and added an assist for his second multi-point game of the campaign… Sergei Kostitsyn assisted on Nashville’s first and last goals for his third multi-point game of 2012-13… Rich Clune notched his first assist as a Predator on the game’s opening goal by Craig Smith… Brandon Yip collected his first fighting major of the season and third as a Predator at 11:45 of the second period. After that, Nashville outscored Dallas 3-0 and outshot it 15-5.
The Predators are 6-1-2 against the Pacific Division in 2012-13… Nick Spaling is expected to play in his 200th career game tonight… Colin Wilson has been better than a point-per-game player for the Preds as of late, posting 14 points (4g-10a) in the month of February (13gp). He leads the Preds in points this season (5g-10a-15pts), after being in on 15 of the last 31 Predator goals… Nashville ranks fourth in the league in team goals-against average (2.15)… The Preds rank ninth in the League in first-period goals scored with 17… The Predators have garnered points in 14 of their first 20 games of 2012-13 – all but one in which they’ve scored a goal (a 6-5 loss at Colorado on Feb. 18)… The Predators are tied for second in the League in blocked shots (315), and have three players ranked among the League’s Top 30 in the category – Kevin Klein (40), Scott Hannan (38) and Weber (37). Mike Fisher leads all NHL forwards in blocked shots with 27… Nashville has posted the second-fewest penalty minutes per game in the League this season (10). The Preds led the League in the category in 2011-12 (8.4) and 2009-10 (8.7), and ranked second in 2010-11 (8.8).
BARRY TROTZ: LONGEST TENURED COACH IN THE NHL
Having been at the helm since the franchise’s first game on Oct. 10, 1998, Nashville Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz is the longest tenured head coach in the National Hockey League (1,086 games) and has the second longest active tenure in all four major sports behind only Gregg Popovich of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. A Jack Adams Award finalist in both 2010 and 2011, Trotz is 15th on the all-time coaching wins list, and his 512 wins with the Preds is fourth on the wins with a single team list, just four shy of Billy Reay’s total with Chicago for third. The Dauphin, Man., native is the only coach to lead his team to the postseason in seven of the last eight seasons.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. ANAHEIM
Nashville plays its 21st game of the 2012-13 season tonight, but it is already the team’s third and final contest against the Anaheim Ducks. The Predators have dropped each of the first two meetings by 3-2 scores in a shootout – on Jan. 26 at the Honda Center and on Feb. 16 in Nashville.
The first meeting was the third game of a seven-game road trip for the Preds. Brandon Yip put the Predators on the board at 1:52 of the first, and David Legwand pitched in a third-period marker. One Feb. 16, it was Legwand who registered Nashville’s first tally, before Shea Weber scored his first goal of the season – and the 100th goal of his career – in the middle frame. Sergei Kostitsyn notched his 100th career assist on the Weber goal as Nashville collected a point for the eighth consecutive game against the Ducks dating back to Jan. 5, 2011. The Preds are 6-0-2 in those eight games.
Martin Erat played 24:12 the last time these teams met – his highest regular-season ice time since March 4, 2007, when he recorded 26:12 against Anaheim… Patric Hornqvist – who was injured when the Ducks and Preds played on Jan. 26 – led the Predators in scoring against the Ducks last season with five points (2g-3a) in four games. In 16 career games against the Ducks, he has 14 points (6g-8a)… Gabriel Bourque has assists in two of his first three career games against Anaheim… The Ducks are one of two teams (along with St. Louis) that Rinne has played at least 10 games against and has a goals-against average of less than 2.00. In 15 games, he has a 9-2-4 record with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage… Jonathon Blum was the first California-born and raised player to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. The Rancho Santa Margarita native grew up going to Ducks games. He has two assists in four career games against Anaheim.