TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. ST. LOUIS
The St. Louis Blues visit Nashville for the first time in 2009-10 tonight at the Sommet Center, the second of six meetings between the clubs this season. It is also the front end of a back-to-back set – the Predators are 1-2-0 in game one of back-to-backs with 10 more to play after tonight. Two weeks ago at the Scottrade Center, the Predators scored three unanswered goals – including the game winner by Jordin Tootoo at 16:17 of the third period – in a 3-1 victory. Patric Hornqvist started the scoring in the second period, and David Legwand posted his first goal of the season with an empty netter. The Predators outshot the Blues 37-22 in the game, including a 19-7 margin in the second period. Pekka Rinne stopped 21-of-22 shots in the victory to improve to 3-1-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. 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. In the past four seasons, the Predators are 23-5-3 in the series, including a 12-0-3 mark in Nashville – the club’s last regulation loss at home against St. Louis came April 3, 2004. 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.
Legwand has played more games against St. Louis (51) than any other individual against any other team in franchise history… Tootoo picked up a minor penalty last time out against the Blues, and now has 68 career penalty minutes against St. Louis, the second-most by an individual against a single team in club history. Tootoo’s total against Columbus (88) is first. Tootoo’s third career game-winner on Nov. 12 was also his sixth career goal against St. Louis – he has twice as many goals against the Blues than any other team in the league… Kevin Klein has six goals in 104 career games, but four of them have come in 17 games against a pair of Central foes – St. Louis (2) and Chicago (2)… As a Predator, Steve Sullivan has 15 points (6g-9a) in 18 games against the Blues… Ryan Suter has more assists (13) against St. Louis than any other NHL team.
The Preds are 2-2-0 all-time in games played on November 27. The Preds split games against Anaheim in 1998 and 1999, a 3-1 win in '98 and a 3-4 loss in '99. Nashville also split match-ups against San Jose in 2001 and 2001, dropping a 2-3 decision at the Sharks in '01 before rebounding with a 4-2 win over the Sharks on Nov. 27, 2002.
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. TEAM QUICK HITS
In addition to being tied for ninth in the NHL in points, the Predators rank among the League’s Top 10 in wins (tied for fifth with 14), shorthanded goals (tied for sixth with 3), goals-against average (eighth at 2.56), shots per game (ninth at 31), fewest shots allowed per game (ninth at 28.5) and face-off efficiency (ninth at 51.3 percent)… The Predators have been shorthanded the third-fewest times in the League (75, 3.26 per game) and are averaging the NHL’s fewest penalty minutes per game (8.1)… Nashville is 14-2-1 when scoring more than one goal, and 10-1-0 when scoring the first goal of the game the League’s second-best winning percent (.909) in that situation… The Predators have the league’s fourth-best winning percentage (8-4-0, .667) when outshooting the opposition… Nashville has goals in each of its last six first periods, scoring eight times in that span. Prior to the stretch, it had nine first-period goals in its first 17 games of the season… The Predators have allowed just two third-period goals in their last seven games after giving up six final-frame markers in the previous three games… All 13 of Nashville’s wins this season – and its last 22 wins dating back to March 3, 2009 – have been decided by two goals or fewer. Of the 22, 15 of the wins have been by one goal. In 2009-10, the Predators eight one-goal victories are tied for third in the NHL, while their six two-goal victories are tied for first.
SEVEN STRAIGHT – OVERALL AND ON HOME ICE
The Predators have won seven consecutive games overall dating back to the last time they played St. Louis on Nov. 12, the second longest winning streak in franchise history – the Predators won the first eight games of the 2005-06 season (Oct. 5-25). During the current stretch, the Predators have claimed four one-goal games – including one in overtime and two in shootouts – and three more by a two-goal margin. Nashville has outscored the opposition 23-13, scoring three or more goals six times, while holding its foes under three on four occasions. The Predators have scored on the power play in all but one of the seven, and been perfect on the penalty kill five times. The day prior to the win in St. Louis on Nov. 12, Nashville sat 13th in the Western Conference standings. By American Thanksgiving, the club had moved up to sixth in the West.
On home ice, the winning streak is also seven dating back to a 2-0 shutout of Chicago on Oct. 29. It is also the second-longest streak in franchise history behind an eight-gamer from Jan. 6-Feb. 8, 2007. The Predators have a power-play goal in all seven of the wins, and are perfect on the PK in five of the seven. The Predators are 8-3-0 on home ice, tied for the third-most wins in the League.
POWER PLAY PRODUCES, PENALTY KILL SHUTS OPPOSITION DOWN
With two goals on three opportunities at Colorado on Wednesday, the Predators have multiple power-play goals in three consecutive games, going 6-for-15 (40 percent) in that span. The last time they scored more than once on the power play in three straight was Feb. 21-27, 2008 (6-for-18, 33 percent). Nashville has also scored on the power play in six consecutive games, going 10-for-27 (37 percent) in that span. The last time Nashville went this many games with a man-advantage marker was Dec. 12-26, 2006, when it converted in eight straight games, going 11-for-54 (20.4 percent) in those eight games. On home ice, the club has a power-play goal in seven straight, going 10-for-33 (30.3 percent) – only four times in franchise history has Nashville gone eight-or-more straight home games with a PPG, most recently Jan. 15-March 2, 2006. Since scoring two power-play goals on Oct. 22 to break an 0-for-29 drought (second-longest in franchise history), Nashville has raised its power-play success rate from 3.3 percent (30th in the League) to 18.9 percent (18th). The Predators are a perfect 12-0-0 when scoring with the man advantage.
The penalty kill has been effective as well, not allowing a power-play goal by the opposition in six of the last eight games. The PK has extinguished 33-of-38 opportunities against (86.8 percent) since Nov. 7, moving the unit from 27th in the NHL’s PK rankings on Oct. 29, to a tie for 15th.
Special teams have scored eight of Nashville’s last 11 goals going back to the third period against New Jersey on Nov. 19, and 11 of the last 17 going back to the third period against Montreal on Nov. 14. PLAYER QUICK HITS Shea Weber scored his sixth goal of the season – and fourth on the power play – moving him into a tie for second in goals by an NHL defenseman, and a tie for first in power play tallies by a blueliner. Weber has six points (1g-5a) in his last six games, moving him up to 11th in d-man points (15). Five of his six goals have come on the road – a defenseman high – while his 57 shots are tied for fifth by a blueliner. He has assists in three straight games, tying a career high… Both Martin Erat (3g-2a) and David Legwand (2g-2a) have points in three straight. Legwand has seven points (3g-4a) in his last five outings… Jason Arnott has points in four consecutive games (4g-2a)… Steve Sullivan has six points (3g-3a) in his last six games… Jordin Tootoo has assists in back-to-back games, tying a career high.
RINNE WINS SEVENTH STRAIGHT Pekka Rinne won his seventh straight game on Wednesday at Colorado, tying the franchise record for consecutive wins by a netminder – Tomas Vokoun had a seven-game winning streaks in both 2003-04 and 2005-06. The seven wins – all in November – tie Rinne for first in the NHL in wins this month. Since coming off the bench to earn the victory in a 4-3 victory at Minnesota on Oct. 28, the 258th overall selection in the 2004 Entry Draft is 11-1-0, the most wins in the League since that date. In those 12 games, Rinne has a 1.75 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage.