TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. BOSTON
The Predators travel to Boston for just the seventh time in franchise history, and the second game in the past four seasons tonight at TD Garden. Nashville last visited Beantown on Jan. 29, 2008, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Bruins, but would reel off a 7-2-3 record in the next 12 games after the loss. A season ago, Boston came to the Sommet Center on Valentine’s Day 2009 leading the NHL in points, but Nashville pulled out a 3-2 shootout victory thanks in-large part to David Legwand. Not only did Legwand score both of Nashville’s regulation goals, but also notched the shootout-deciding marker. The Preds are 2-3-1 in six trips to Boston all-time, and 6-7-1 in 14 games against the Bruins.
All-time series highlight: On Jan. 19, 2001, Mike Dunham made 35 saves and defenseman Cale Hulse scored at 2:24 of overtime to give the Predators their first extra-session victory ever at the Sommet Center. Nashville had played 15 previous overtime home games in team history, tying all but two of them. It had also produced six road victories in sudden death before netting the victory over the Bruins at the Sommet Center. Dunham’s solid effort in net was the fifth shutout in Predators history.
The Preds are 0-2-1 all-time in games played on October 21. Nashville fell 2-5 to Detroit in 1998 and 3-5 again at home to San Jose iin 2000 before picking up an overtime decision 3-4 to Vancouver in 2006.
Steve Sullivan posted his fourth career hat trick, and tied a career-high with five points against Boston on March 9, 2003 with the Chicago Blackhawks… In 21 career games against Boston, Sullivan has 20 points (7g-13a)… J.P. Dumont recorded his second career hat trick against the Bruins on Dec. 12, 2000 with Buffalo. He has 26 points (13g-14a) in 33 games all-time against Boston… Jordin Tootoo had a career-high two assists against Boston on Dec. 30, 2006, and has three assists in three games against Boston. QUICK HITS
Nashville has scored six of its nine goals this season in the second period… The Predators lead the league in fewest penalty minutes per game (8.1), and rank fifth in the NHL in team face-off efficiency (53%)… Shea Weber has points in back-to-back games (1g-1a) and is averaging 25:35 per game, the 10th-highest ice time in the League. Defensive partner Ryan Suter, fresh off a franchise-record 32:14 played on Saturday at Boston, is averaging 25:00 per game, the 17th-highest total in the NHL. No Predator has averaged more than the 24:15 Suter did in 2008-09… The duo of Suter and Weber are also tied with leading points man Patric Hornqvist (2g-4a) for the team lead in plus/minus rating (+3)… Hornqvist is also tied for fourth among all NHL second-year players in points… Francis Bouillon is tied for fifth among NHL blueliners in hits (23)... The next game forward Wade Belak dresses for will be the 500th of his NHL career. Of his total, 35 came with Colorado (1996-99), 63 came with Calgary (1999-2001), 318 came with Toronto (2001-08), 32 came with Florida (2008-09) and 42 have come with Nashville… Dan Ellis has tended net for both of Nashville’s shootouts this season, going 1-1 while stopping six-of-eight shots (.750). Heading into the season, Ellis had gong 3-5 in games decided in a shootout while stopping 10-of-20 shots (.500).
FRANSON BECOMES FOURTH PICK FROM 2005 TO SUIT UP FOR THE PREDATORS
In the 2005 Entry Draft in Ottawa, Nashville made seven selections, and on Saturday, Cody Franson became the fourth of the seven to suit up for the Predators and the fifth to play in the NHL. Franson played 12:54 and had one shot on goal in his NHL debut on Saturday at Washington, joining fellow third rounder Teemu Laakso, fifth-round pick Cal O’Reilly and seventh rounder Patric Hornqvist – the last pick of the draft and the team’s leading scorer through seven games – on the Nashville roster. Ryan Parent, Nashville’s first selection (18th overall) was moved to Philadelphia in the Peter Forsberg trade on Feb. 15, 2007 and is on the Flyers active roster.
Nashville has already seen 12 players from its draft classes between 2003 and 2005 go on to suit up for NHL contests. Nine have suited up for Nashville this season – Ryan Suter (seventh overall in 2003), Kevin Klein (37th overall in 2003), Shea Weber (49th overall in 2003), Mike Santorelli (178th overall in 2004), Pekka Rinne (258th overall in 2004). Laakso (78th overall in 2005), Franson (79th overall in 2005), O’Reilly (150th overall in 2005) and Hornqvist (230th overall in 2005). Two have played games for the Predators in the past couple of seasons – Alex Sulzer (92nd overall in 2003), Alexander Radulov (14th overall in 2004). One has 60 NHL games to his credit, all with Philadelphia – Ryan Parent (18th overall in 2005).
PREDATORS ADD DAVE SCATCHARD AND ALEXANDER SULZER TO ACTIVE ROSTER
On Tuesday, Nashville recalled defenseman Alexander Sulzer and forward Dave Scatchard from Milwaukee (AHL), in addition to putting captain Jason Arnott on injured reserve. Sulzer, 25 (5/30/84), has six points (1g-5a) in five games for the Admirals in 2009-10, good for fifth (tied) among AHL defensemen. The Kaufbeuren, Germany native appeared in two NHL contests for the Predators a season ago – the first two games of his career – becoming the first German-born player to suit up for Nashville. Scatchard, 33 (2/20/76), has a team-leading three goals and 17 penalty minutes in four contests for Milwaukee this season, his first regular season action since he played 11 AHL contests with Milwaukee and Hartford in 2007-08. The Hinton, Alta., native has played in 635 career NHL games since the 1997-98 season, amassing 263 points (125g-138a) with Vancouver (1997-2000), the New York Islanders (2000-04), Boston (2005-06) and Phoenix (2005-07).
THIS DATE IN PREDATORS HISTORY… October 21, 1998: Dunham makes 52 saves at Detroit
Five games into franchise history, Mike Dunham’s 52-save effort against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena still stands as one of the most impressive single-game goaltending performances in franchise history. The save total registered in that night’s 5-2 defeat, Nashville’s first game against the then-defending Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings, stood as the franchise’s record for most stops in a single game until Dan Ellis broke it last season with a 54-save effort at San Jose on Nov. 11, 2008.
Perhaps most impressive that night was that Dunham kept the young Predators in the game, despite the feeling that the visitors from Nashville spent most of the tilt skating uphill. Detroit took a one-goal lead into the third period despite having outshot Nashville 40-7 through two periods, and the Predators tied the game at 1-1 only 1:04 into the third period. The Johnson City, N.Y., native, who now serves as the New York Islanders’ goaltending coach, stopped all 27 shots he faced in the second period, also a single-period franchise record.