TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. ANAHEIM
Nashville and Anaheim meet up for the first time in 2009-10 tonight at the Honda Center, and for the last time before the turn of the calendar to 2010. The Predators took six of a possible eight points in the four-game series a season ago, going 2-0-2. Three of the four games needed extra time to determine a winner – in the first meeting on Nov. 14 in Southern California, Dan Hamhuis scored 2:17 into overtime to lift Nashville to a 4-3 victory, while Anaheim claimed an overtime win at home on March 18 (4-3) and a shootout win six days later in Nashville (2-1). The Predators won 4-2 on Feb. 5 at the Sommet Center in the only game decided in regulation. The home team has had the edge in the series over the past four seasons, winning 12-of-16 matchups. Nashville power play was especially effective against the Ducks last season, converting five times on 13 man-advantage opportunities (38.5 percent).
The Nashville Predators are 0-2-1 all-time in games played on November 5, but picked up a point in their lone Nov. 5 road game with a 2-3 shootout decision at Los Angeles in 2005, the team's most recent Nov. 5 match-up. The '05 game marked the second game of a six-game points streak for the Preds (4-0-2). In their first two Nov. 5 game the Preds dropped a pair of home games, 1-3 to Chicago in 1999 and 3-4 game to Vancouver in 2003.
All-time series highlight: On Oct. 8, 2005 – in game No. 2 of the 2005-06 season – the Predators took part in their first-ever shootout, and claimed a 3-2 victory behind new Predator, and former Duck, Paul Kariya’s shootout-deciding conversion. Yanic Perrault scored both of Nashville’s regulation tallies. It was the second of eight consecutive victories (three of which were determined in the shootout) to start the campaign, which at the time tied for the second longest in NHL history.
Shea Weber led all Nashville scorers against Anaheim last season, with five points (1g-4a). The 2009 All-Star notched a pair of assists in game Nos. 1 and 3 of the series, and scored a power-play marker in the series finale… Fellow defenseman Hamhuis (1g-3a) and Ryan Suter (4a) also averaged a point per game against the Ducks in 2008-09… Joel Ward led all Nashville goal scorers in the 2008-09 series with three tallies.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Ducks Martin Erat – Career-high 8 penalty minutes on Jan. 17, 2008.
Dan Hamhuis – Played his first NHL game on Oct. 9, 2003. Kevin Klein – Collected his only career fighting major/career-high five penalty minutes on Feb. 5, 2009.
Dave Scatchard – Played his first NHL game on Oct. 3, 1997 (with Vancouver). Ryan Suter – Career-high three assists on March 18, 2009. Jordin Tootoo – Played his first NHL game on Oct. 9, 2003. Shea Weber – Career-high 15 penalty minutes on Feb. 3, 2007.
RINNE NAMED SECOND STAR OF THE WEEK
Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week for the week of Oct. 26, after posting the best goals-against average (0.76) and top save percentage (.968) in the league (among goalies playing more than one game) as the Predators improved to 4-1-0 in their last five games. Rinne was also one of just two goalies to go 3-0-0 (along with San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov). He started the week by earning a victory in relief work on Wednesday at Minnesota, stopping all 12 shots he faced in 38 minutes of work as the Predators rallied for a 4-3 victory after the goaltender switch. The following night at home vs. Chicago, he turned aside 22-of-22 shots for his eighth career shutout and the first by a Nashville goaltender in 2009-10. Rinne finished the week with a 27-save effort in a 4-2 win against Dallas on Saturday.
It is the third time the Kempele, Finland native, who turned 27 on Tuesday, has been honored by the league. He was named First Star of the Week for the week of Dec. 1, 2008 and Rookie of the Month in February 2009.
NUMBERS GAME Jordin Tootoo is expected to suit up for his first game of the season tonight at Anaheim, making him the 16th Nashville draft pick to make an appearance in the lineup, by far the highest in franchise history. The previous record was 12 picks both a season ago and in 2006-07. The Predators have used 30 players already in 2009-10, the same number that was used in all of 2008-09, and one more than was used in 2007-08. TEAM QUICK HITS
Nashville has rallied from a second-period deficit to win in two of its last three games… The Predators have five power-play goals in their last five games, going 5-for-21 in that span (23.8 percent). With two shorthanded tallies as well, the club has seen special teams produce nearly half the goal total (7-of-15, 46.6 percent) while winning four-of-five… In the last five games, Nashville has scored seven third-period goals. It had no final-frame markers in the six games prior to the current stretch. The Predators also have seven first-period markers in the last six contests – they had only one opening-period goal (on opening night) in the first seven games of the season… Nashville is 4-1-0 when scoring the first goal of the game… The Predators are second in the League in fewest penalty minutes per game (9.3), just 0.1 away from first-place Detroit. Nashville is the only team in the league with less than three major penalties (1). PLAYER QUICK HITS Shea Weber (expected to miss tonight’s game with a foot injury) scored his third power-play goal, and fifth goal of the season, on Saturday vs. Dallas, tying him for tops among League d-men in the former and second among NHL blueliners in the latter. Weber also leads the Predators in both categories, and ranks second in points (5g-4a). Four of his five goals have come on the road, which stands along among League defensemen… Both Joel Ward (1g-2a) and J.P. Dumont (1g-3a) have points in three consecutive games, the first time any Predator has had points in more than back-to-back games this season. Ward has points (1g-3a) in each of Nashville’s last four victories, while Dumont has nine points (2g-7a) in the last five contests… Steve Sullivan has three points (1g-2a) in his last three games… With his first goal of the season on Saturday night, and an assist on Thursday against Chicago, Kevin Klein has points in back-to-back games for the second time in his career… Jerred Smithson is one of just four players in the NHL – along with Florida’s Radek Dvorak, Columbus’s Rick Nash and Ottawa’s Milan Michalek – with multiple shorthanded goals… Francis Bouillon is eighth among NHL blueliners in hits (37).
PREDATORS RECALL THURESSON
Prior to heading to the West Coast, Nashville recalled forward Andreas Thuresson (an-DRAY-uhs THUHR-eh-suhn) from Milwaukee (AHL). The 21-year-old native of Kristianstad, Sweden made his NHL debut in Nashville’s 4-2 win over Dallas on Saturday at the Sommet Center, playing 8:48 and dishing out three hits, which tied a game high. He has five points in nine games for the Admirals in 2009-10. Nashville's seventh choice, 144th overall (fifth round), in the 2007 Entry Draft notched 29 points (14g-15a) in 74 games for Milwaukee in 2008-09, and 18 points (11g-7a) in 77 contests as the American Hockey League’s youngest player in 2007-08.