TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. CHICAGO
Tonight marks the second time this season and the fourth time in NHL history that all 30 teams are playing on the same day. The Predators are one of three teams that are 3-0-0 on days when all 30 teams are in action. The Preds got their third such win on Oct. 3, when they opened their season with a 3-2 shootout win at Dallas. They also beat San Jose at home on the opening night of the 2005-06 season and topped Los Angeles on Oct. 24, 2008.
The Predators pay a visit to the United Center for the first time in 2009-10 tonight, their second of six meetings with the Blackhawks this season. It is also the second of three games the clubs will play in a 15-day span, with Nashville hosting the Hawks on Thursday. The Predators went 1-2-0 in the Windy City a season ago, with their victory coming by way of a shootout in Chicago’s home opener on Oct. 13, 2008. In the first matchup of the teams this season on Oct. 15, Chicago pulled out a 3-1 win, thanks in-large part to a pair of goals in a 28-second span of the second period. Nashville has held Chicago to three goals or fewer in eight of the last nine meetings dating back to March 22, 2008. In that span, Nashville goaltenders Dan Ellis, Chris Mason and Pekka Rinne have posted a 2.20 save percentage and a .926 save percentage. The 64 all-time meetings between these Central Division rivals is fairly even, with Nashville holding a 29-28-7 advantage.
This is the fourth time the Preds have played a game on October 24. All of the previous three have been decided by one goal or less. The Preds fell at Chicago 5-4 in 1998. In 2000 Nashville tied Vancouver 4-4, followed by a 2-1 loss to San Jose in 2002.
All-time series highlights: The Predators have recorded 16 hat tricks in club history, with four of them – the first, third, ninth and 12th – coming against the Blackhawks. On Nov. 10, 1999, Rob Valicevic potted the first three-goal game in club history with a natural hat trick in a span of 11:12 of the first period in a 4-2 victory. On Dec. 15, 2001, Petr Tenkrat notched another natural hat trick with a trio of goals at 13:44 and 14:11 of the second period, and 7:39 of the third. Scott Hartnell put up three goals in a 6-0 rout of the Hawks on Feb. 4, 2006, and David Legwand notched his first career three-goal game on Jan. 20, 2007.
Martin Erat scored the Predators lone goal of the game last Thursday, and has six points (2g-4a) in five games against the Hawks dating back to the beginning of last season… Ryan Suter assisted on the goal, giving him five helpers in seven games vs. the Blackhawks since the start of 2008-09… Legwand has picked up more goals (18), assists (26) and points (46), in more games (47) against Chicago, than any other player in franchise history against any other team. He has five points (3g-2a) in his last five games against Chicago… As a Predator, Steve Sullivan has 22 points (7g-15a) in 21 games against the team that traded him to Nashville on Feb. 16, 2004… J.P. Dumont started his career as a Blackhawk, posting 33 points (19g-14a) in 72 games from 1998-2000, before being traded to Buffalo on March 10, 2000. He has 22 points (6g-16a) in 28 career games against Chicago.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Blackhawks
Jason Arnott –First game as a Predator on Oct. 5, 2006. First goal as a Predator on Oct. 12, 2006 on Nikolai Khabibulin.
J.P. Dumont –First game and goal (on Khabibulin) as a Predator on Oct. 5, 2006. David Legwand –Most points (3g-1a) in a game and first career hat trick on Jan. 20, 2007. Kevin Klein –First NHL goal on Jan. 26, 2007 against Khabibulin. Pekka Rinne –First NHL game and win on Dec. 15, 2005. Ryan Suter –First NHL goal on Dec. 21, 2005 against Khabibulin. QUICK HITS Patric Hornqvist and J.P. Dumont are tied for the club lead in points (2g-5a-7pts). Hornqvist leads the team in shots (29) and plus/minus rating (+5)… Steve Sullivan skated in his 200th game as a Predator on Thursday night… Dave Scatchard (won 8 of 11, 73%) and Jerred Smithson (won 7 of 10, 70%) led Nashville in the face-off circle on Thursday. Smithson leads club forwards in hits (14) and average shorthanded time on ice (2:26)… Francis Bouillon leads the team and ranks among NHL defensemen leaders in hits (27)… Kevin Klein leads the club in blocked shots (19)… Prior to Thursday night’s game, Nashville’s highest goal output this season was three markers in each of the first two games… Nashville’s two goals and Ottawa’s five markers in the third period of Thursday night’s game, tied a franchise record for most goals by both teams in a period with seven… After not scoring a power-play goal since the first game of the season, the Predators tallied two on Thursday night and did not give up a power-play goal for the second game this season… Chicago (9.1 PIMs per game) is the only team in the NHL averaging fewer penalty minutes per game than Nashville (9.4 PIMs per game).
WEBER AND SUTER HELP SET FRANCHISE RECORD Shea Weber and Ryan Suter each posted two goals and an assist in Thursday night’s 6-5 overtime win at Ottawa. Suter scored his second of the game at 19:00 of the third period and then set up Weber’s second of the night at 2:11 of overtime. It was the sixth time Weber has notched two goals in a game and marked the first multi-goal outing of Suter’s career. Weber’s OT goal was the third of his career. He fired a team high seven shots on goal Thursday night. Suter’s assist on Weber’s OT winner gave him his fifth career OT point (1g-4a).
Five of Nashville’s six goals on Thursday night were scored by defensemen. Cody Franson tallied his first NHL goal at 8:09 of the first period to add to Suter and Weber’s output. It marked the most goals scored by defensemen in a single game in franchise history and was the first time any team in the league had five goals scored by its defensemen since March 21, 2004 when the Edmonton Oilers had five goals from their blueliners in a 5-2 win over San Jose.
WEBER NOW TIED FOR THIRD ALL-TIME IN OT POINTS
Nashville OT scoring
G A PTS David Legwand 5 5 10
Kimmo Timonen 1 6 7 Shea Weber 3 3 6
Scott Walker 3 3 6
DUMONT SETS CAREER HIGH, TIES FRANCHISE RECORD
J.P. Dumont posted career highs in points and assists (1g-4a) and tied the franchise mark for points in a single game on Thursday night. One of his four helpers came on Weber’s overtime game-winner. Dumont has recorded four four-point games in his career with the last one coming at Ottawa on Nov. 29, 2007 (1g-3a). The only other Predators to record five points in a single game are Dan Hamhuis (1g-4a-5pts at Pittsburgh on March 4, 2004) and Marek Zidlicky (5a at February 18, 2004).