TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. MINNESOTA
The Predators and Wild meet for the first of four games in 2009-10 tonight at Xcel Energy Center – a season ago, the clubs split four games at two apiece. In those four games, the Wild used offensive firepower to lift it to victory, while the Predators claimed their pair behind shutouts from Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne. On Dec. 6 at the Sommet Center, Rinne stopped all 32 shots he faced and J.P. Dumont provide the lone goal of the game in a 1-0 Nashville victory. Then on Feb. 6 – during the club’s annual Father’s Trip – Dan Ellis turned aside all 22 Wild shots he faced in a 2-0 white wash. In its 15th trip to the venue all-time, it was Nashville’s first shutout at the Xcel Energy Center.
Nashville is 1-2-1 all-time in games played on October 28, picking up points the past two times it has skated on that day. The Predators dropped one-goal decisions to San Jose in 1999 (3-2) and St, Louis in 2003 (1-0). On October 28, 2006, Nashville picked up a 3-2 win at Calgary and last season rallied at Washington to force overtime in an eventual 4-3 SOL.
All-time series highlights: On Nov. 16, 2006 at the Sommet Center, Nashville pelted Niklas Backstrom and Manny Fernandez with a combined 45 shots and Minnesota put the same number on Chris Mason in what proved to be a franchise record for most combined shots in a game (90). On March 21, 2001, Mike Dunham (23 saves) and Jamie McLennan (27 saves) both recorded shutouts in the first of two scoreless ties in team history.
Jason Arnott (4g-1a) – who scored the game-winning goal in Nashville’s second win over Minnesota last season – and Dumont (1g-4a) tied for the team lead with five points apiece against the Wild in 2008-09. Arnott’s goal total tied for the highest individual output against a single team in 2008-09, and stood alone against non-divisional opponents. Dumont has 15 points (4g-11a) in 11 games against Minnesota as a Predator… Steve Sullivan only dressed for two of the four games against Minnesota last season, but put up three points (1g-2a). He has 13 points (5g-8a) in nine games against the Wild as a Predator…
Joel Ward started his professional career in the Wild organization, playing three seasons in Houston (2005-08) and dressing for his first 11 NHL games with Minnesota in 2006-07… The Predators also have several recent draftees with Minnesota connections. 2006 sixth-round pick Ryan Flynn is a St. Paul native who played high school hockey at Centennial, and is now the senior captain of the University of Minnesota’s squad. 2008 sixth-round pick Jeff Foss, now a junior at R.P.I., played four seasons at Moorhead High School. Among 2009 picks, second rounder Zach Budish is also a Golden Gopher after playing high school hockey at Edina, while fourth rounder Nick Oliver won a state title at Roseau High School playing for his father, and is now in the USHL playing for the Fargo Force. He will attend St. Cloud State in 2010-11.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Wild Martin Erat – First career goal on Oct. 30, 2001 against Dwayne Roloson. Jerred Smithson – First career goal on Dec. 1, 2005 against Roloson.
NASHVILLE RECALLS MIKE SANTORELLI
Mike Santorelli, who played in Nashville’s first five games of the season before being assigned to Milwaukee (AHL), was recalled on Monday after posting eight points (4g-4a) in four games with the Admirals. The Vancouver, B.C., native posted five points (1g-4a) in his 2009-10 AHL debut on Oct. 16 at Abbotsford, this posted three goals in his final two games with Milwaukee before being recalled. Nashville’s sixth choice, 178th overall (sixth round), in the 2004 Entry Draft is pointless in 12 career NHL contests. The Predators also assigned Ryan Jones to the Admirals. QUICK HITS
J.P. Dumont has seven points (2g-5a) in six games, and is tied with Patric Hornqvist (2g-5a) for the team lead in points and assists… Hornqvist leads the team in plus/minus rating (+5), and is tied for 13th among NHL forwards… Shea Weber (25:27) and Ryan Suter (25:23) rank 13th and 14th, respectively, in the NHL in average ice time… Weber has scored all three of his goals, and has four of his six points, on the road… Among NHL defensemen, Francis Bouillon ranks sixth in hits (29), while Weber is tied for 12th (25)… In his last three starts, goaltender Dan Ellis has a .927 save percentage and a 2.30 goals-against average… The Predators are averaging the second fewest penalty minutes (9.1) in the league this season, and have been shorthanded the third fewest times (tied, 35) in 2009-10… Nashville has converted two of its last six power plays after going 29 straight without a man-advantage marker.
NEW PREDATORS COLLECT FIRST POINTS
During the Predators five-game road trip that has seen it play a divisional foe (Chicago) and three Eastern Conference opponents (Washington, Boston and Ottawa), five new Predators collected either their first points with the club, or first career points. In Washington on Oct. 17, Marcel Goc assisted on Shea Weber’s first goal of the season for his first point in something other than a San Jose sweater. One game later at Boston, 2008 first-round pick Colin Wilson collected his first NHL goal in the city where he led Boston University to the 2009 National Championship. Wilson made it points in back-to-back games with an assist the following night in Ottawa. Cody Franson also picked up points in both games, notching his first career point with an assist at Boston before collecting his first goal in Ottawa. Alexander Sulzer posted his first career point with an assist in Canada’s capital as well, while Dave Scatchard notched his first point/assist since Jan. 7, 2007.