TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. ST. LOUIS
The Predators end a four-game road trip with their first visit to the Scottrade Center tonight, Nashville’s first game of 2009-10 against a Central Division foe not named the Blackhawks. The Preds and Blues play the next three games of the series at the Sommet Center – including a game in two weeks – and will not return to St. Louis again until April 1. In 2008-09, Nashville went 2-2-2 against the Bluenotes, and four of the last five meetings have needed overtime or a shootout to determine a winner. On Nov. 28, the Predators out shot St. Louis by the largest margin in franchise history (47-17), but were shut out in Chris Mason's first game against his former team – the first home shutout defeat since Jan. 15, 2004, a span of 148 home games. Dan Ellis notched a shutout in the shootout loss. Nashville returned the favor with a shootout win of its own on Feb. 12, winning 4-3 after trailing 3-1 at the second intermission. Jason Arnott scored with three seconds remaining in regulation and Steve Sullivan notched the only goal of the breakaway competition. Following a Blues overtime win on Feb. 19, the Predators returned to Nashville two days later, where Shea Weber scored the only goal of the game at 2:36 of overtime, and Pekka Rinne stopped 30 shots in a 1-0 victory. In that past four seasons, the Predators are 22-5-3 in the series, including a 10-5-0 mark in St. Louis. The Predators have been to overtime/a shootout with St. Louis a club-record 18 times, going 9-5-4, and the teams have played at least three overtime/shootout games in each of the past three seasons.
The Predators are 3-1-0 all-time in games played on November 12, with all four games finishing either 3-1 or 4-1. Nashville split it's first two November 12 appearances with a 3-1 win in LA (1998) and a 1-4 loss in Detroit (2002), before winning its last two November 12 games -- a 3-1 win over St. Louis in 2005 and a 4-1 win at Columbus in 2007.
All-time series highlight: Between Oct. 15, 2005 and Jan. 27, 2007, the Predators won a franchise-record 14 consecutive games against the Blues. During the streak, Nashville outscored St. Louis 47-20 (3.36-1.43 per game) despite being outshot 441-417 (31.5-29.8 per game) during the 14-game stretch.
David Legwand has played more games against St. Louis (50) than any other individual against any other team in franchise history… Jordin Tootoo has 66 career penalty minutes against St. Louis, the third-most by an individual against a single team in club history. Tootoo against Columbus (88) and Scott Hartnell vs. Calgary (67) are first and second… Kevin Klein has six goals in 97 career games, but four of them have come in 16 games against a pair of Central foes – St. Louis (2) and Chicago (2)… As a Predator, Steve Sullivan has 15 points (6g-9a) in 17 games against the Blues… Ryan Suter has more assists (13) against St. Louis than any other NHL team… Both Ellis and Rinne have identical 2-1-1 records against the Blues for their career, and their goals-against averages are only fractions off – Ellis has a 2.34 while Rinne has a 2.41.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Blues Francis Bouillon – Career-high 15 penalty minutes on Jan. 13, 2004. First career goal on Jan. 6, 2000 on Roman Turek.
Dan Ellis – First game as a Predator on Oct. 10, 2007.
Dan Hamhuis – First NHL goal on Oct. 16, 2003 on Chris Osgood. Patric Hornqvist – First NHL game on Oct. 10, 2008. Joel Ward – First NHL goal on Oct. 10, 2008 on Manny Legace. Shea Weber – First NHL goal on April 6, 2006 on Reinhard Divis.
HORNQVIST MAKING HIS CASE FOR SWEDISH OLYMPIC TEAM Patric Hornqvist scored his fourth goal of the season on Tuesday at San Jose, doubling his 27-game goal output from 2008-09, his rookie campaign. The Sollentuna, Sweden native has amassed nine points (4g-5a), which ties him for second on the Predators, and eighth among Swedish forwards. Hornqvist has paced Nashville in shots on goal all season, and his 60 fired on net is tied with Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg for second among NHL Swedes, and tied for 10th in the League. The 5-11, 188-pound right wing also has a knack for scoring in clutch situations, as all four of his goals have come in the third period, with two of them being game winners. QUICK HITS
The Predators are 7-2-1 when scoring more than one goal… Nashville is 5-1-0 when scoring the first goal of the game, the League’s eighth-best winning percent (.833) in that situation… The Predators have scored 10 third-period goals in the last eight games after starting the season with two third-period goals in their first eight outings… The Predators have been shorthanded 57 times this season (3.6 times per game), tied for the third-fewest (entering Wednesday’s games) in the NHL. The club also ranks second in the League in fewest penalty minutes per game (9.4)… Martin Erat has three points (3a) in his last two games after posting one point (1g) in his first 11 outings of 2009-10… Rookie blueliner Cody Franson has three points (2g-1a) in his last two games, moving him into a tie for fifth in points (2g-3a) among rookie defensemen… Francis Bouillon, who doled out three more hits on Tuesday at San Jose, is tied for sixth among NHL defensemen in the category (45). Bouillon also played more than 20 minutes for the fourth consecutive game on Tuesday, and has logged 20 or more minutes in 10-of-16 games this season. He only reached the mark six times in all of 2008-09 and 10 times in 74 games in 2007-08. He is on track to set a 10-season career high in average ice time (20:51)… Joel Ward has points (2g-3a) in each of Nashville’s last five victories, and the Predators are 12-2-2 since the start of 2008-09 when he scores… Pekka Rinne has posted 3-1-0 record, a 1.66 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage in his last four appearances.
PROSPECT UPDATE NCAA Zach Budish had his first big game at the University of Minnesota in a 5-2 victory at Wisconsin on Saturday, scoring twice and assisting on another tally… Blake Geoffrion continues to produce at a point-per-game clip for the Wisconsin Badgers, pitching in two goals in a 4-2 win over Minnesota on Friday, and an assist in the game Saturday. He now has seven points (5g-2a) in seven games… Linemate and fellow Predators prospect Craig Smith assisted on both of Geoffrion’s goals on Friday, one of which was the game-winner, to give him six helpers in his first six games with UW… Ben Ryan, who leads Notre Dame in both points (10) and assists (7), had a point in each of the Irish’s two games at Alaska this past weekend, extending his point streak to seven games (3g-6a).
With his 10th multi-point game already this season, Guelph’s Taylor Beck moved into sixth in the Ontario Hockey League scoring race with 31 points (11g-20a). He also ranks fourth in assists… After missing a month due to injury, Ryan Ellis returned to the Windsor lineup last Thursday and notched an assist to bring his point total to 12 (all assists) in 10 games this season… Gabriel Bourque continues to rack up both the penalty minutes and the points for Baie-Comeau of the QMJHL – he is the only player in the league with at least 40 penalty minutes (47) and 20 points (5g-18a-23pts), and has the most points among the League’s Top 25 in PIMS.
World Junior ‘A’ Challenge
Cam Reid helped lead Canada West to a second-place finish at the 2009 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Summerside, P.E.I., last week, and tied second in goals (4) and fifth in points (4g-2a) in the process. His performance included a hat trick in a 7-3 win over Belarus in the quarterfinals of the tournament last Thursday.