The Predators and the Central Division rival Columbus Blue Jackets clash in the first of two 2009 preseason tilts tonight, with the other coming Sunday, Sept. 27 at Nationwide Arena. Nashville and Columbus have met at least once in each preseason since the Jackets entered the league for the 2000-01 season in venues from Dayton, Ohio (2000), to Huntsville, Ala. (2001) and Memphis, Tenn. (2006).
Tonight’s contest marks the finale of Preds Fest, a three-day fan appreciation celebration that saw Nashville unveil its new third jersey, host a high school hockey game on Sommet Center Ice, hold a Blood Drive Challenge and a tailgate party.
The game will be broadcast on the Predators Radio Network, including flagship station 97.1 FM WRQQ (click here to listen).
LEGWAND LEADS 4-2 VICTORY AT CAROLINA David Legwand (1g-2a) led the offensive charge and linemates Mike Santorelli (1g-1a) and Martin Erat (2a) also had multi-point efforts as the Predators doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-2, last night at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. After relinquishing the contest’s first goal, a power-play marker by Erik Cole at 17:10 of the first period, Santorelli evened the score just 58 seconds later, and Legwand notched the go-ahead goal 3:20 into the middle frame. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis potted the game winner with just 1:03 left in the second, and Peter Olvecky pitched in an empty netter to seal the victory. Pekka Rinne (10 saves on 11 shots) and Mark Dekanich (18 saves on 19 shots) split netminding duties. Hamhuis led all skaters in ice time (23:56) and blocked shots (4), while newcomer Ben Guite doled out a game-high four hits. Patric Hornqvist put a game-high seven shots on net.
PREDATORS ROLL IN PRESEASON OPENER
The Predators kicked off the 2009 preseason in fine fashion on Thursday night, posting a 5-0 victory over their closest geographical rivals – the Atlanta Thrashers. Rookie Colin Wilson, Nashville’s first selection (seventh overall) in the 2008 Entry Draft, was impressive in his preseason professional debut, scoring the Predators final goal of the evening, while assisting on tallies by rookie defenseman Teemu Laakso and 2009 All-Star blueliner Shea Weber. Dan Ellis and prospect Mark Dekanich combined for a 22-save shutout, and the top line of Jason Arnott, J.P. Dumont and Steve Sullivan picked up where they left off at the end of last season, combining for two goals and three assists.
EARLY SEASON PROSPECT REPORT
Both CHL and European seasons are underway, and several Predators prospects have been productive in their teams’ first handful of games. In his 2009-10 debut with Guelph, 2009 fourth-round pick Taylor Beck pitched in a goal and two assists, while fellow 2009 draftees Gabriel Bourque (fifth round) and Charles-Olivier Roussel (second round) posted assists in their return to the QMJHL from Predators Rookie Camp. Across the pond, 2009 fourth rounder Mattias Ekholm has put up assists in each of his first two games on Swedish First Division club Mora’s blue line and 2007 seventh rounder Atte Engren has posted a stingy 1.62 goals-against average and .948 save percentage for TPS Turku of the Finnish League.
NASHVILLE UNVEILS ITS NEW THIRD JERSEY
Prior to Thursday night’s preseason opener, the Predators unveiled their new third jersey with a look that has its roots in an Original 6 style, yet keeps a feeling that is distinctly Nashville. The sweater features a vintage-inspired lace-up front, a subtle checkerboard pattern lining the bottom of the jersey, and a bolder and more simplified color scheme. This new color scheme is evident in the Pred-head logo, which includes colors such as Nashville steel, navy blue, silver, white, and a glowing eye, all changes from its predecessor.