TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. CHICAGO
The Predators visit the United Center for the second time in 2009-10 tonight, the fourth meeting between Nashville and Chicago after they played three times in a 15-day span during the season’s first month. The Predators will wrap up their season series with the Blackhawks on Dec. 27, just 24 hours after hosting the Hawks for the final time this season. Nashville took the last meeting of the teams by a 2-0 margin on Oct. 29 at the Sommet Center thanks to a 22-save shutout by Pekka Rinne
and special teams markers by Joel Ward
(power play) and Jerred Smithson
(shorthanded). Chicago took each of the first two meetings by two goals –a 3-1 win in Nashville on Oct. 15 and a 2-0 decision at the UC on Oct. 24. Nashville has posted a 17-13-3 record against Chicago since the start of the 2005-06 season, with seven of those victories coming in the Windy City. The 66 all-time meetings between the clubs is fairly even, with Nashville holding a 30-29-7 record. Nashville has held Chicago to three goals or fewer in 10 of the last 11 meetings dating back to March 22, 2008. In that span, Nashville goaltenders Dan Ellis, Chris Mason and Pekka Rinne
have posted a 1.99 save percentage and a .933 save percentage.
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.
No Predator has more than one point against the Hawks through three games this season… Martin Erat
has six points (2g-4a) in his last five games against Chicago… David Legwand
has picked up more goals (18), assists (26) and points (44) against Chicago, than any other player in franchise history against any other team. He has five points (3g-2a) in his last six games against the Hawks… As a Predator, Sullivan has 22 points (7g-15a) in 23 games against the team that traded him to Nashville on Feb. 16, 2004. On Jan. 10, 2009, after nearly two years on the sidelines with a back injury, Steve Sullivan
returned to the Predators lineup against the Blackhawks and played 41 of the club’s final 42 games. The comeback earned him the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which goes “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey,” making him the first player in franchise history to win an NHL award … 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 23 points (6g-17a) in 30 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.
– Most points (3g-1a) in a game and first career hat trick on Jan. 20, 2007.
– First NHL goal on Jan. 26, 2007 against Khabibulin.
– First NHL game and win on Dec. 15, 2005.
– First NHL goal on Dec. 21, 2005 against Khabibulin.
TEAM QUICK HITS
Tonight begins the fifth of 15 sets of back-to-backs Nashville plays in 2009-10. It is 1-3-0 in the first half, and 3-1-0 in the second half so far this season… Since receiving 11 of their 16 goals from special teams between the third period on Nov. 14 vs. Montreal and the second frame on Nov. 25 at Colorado, the Predators have scored 10 consecutive goals at even strength… Nashville is 12-4-1 in its last 17 games, and has won eight of its last 11… Nashville ranks 10th in shots per game (31.0) and eighth in fewest shots allowed per game (28.7). Its plus-2.3 shot differential is ninth in the NHL… The Predators have been shorthanded the second-fewest times in the League (87, 3.22 per game) and are averaging the second-fewest penalty minutes per game (8.9)…
Nashville is 15-2-2 when scoring more than one goal, and 11-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game, the League’s fifth-best winning percent (.846) in that situation… Nashville has 11 first-period goals in its last 10 games, and has outscored the opposition 11-7 in that span… The penalty kill has been perfect in eight of the last 12 games, killing 26-of-31 (83.9 percent) in that span… The Predators have the league’s fifth-best winning percentage (9-4-1, .643) when outshooting the opposition, which they have done in four of their last five victories… Nashville is 14-6-2 in games decided by two goals or less… Nashville is 12-0-0 when scoring a power-play goal… The Predators are 7-3-2 when tied after two periods.
SULLIVAN-ARNOTT-DUMONT LINE CLICK
The line of Steve Sullivan
(1g-3a), Jason Arnott (2g-1a) and J.P. Dumont (2a) combined for three of Nashville’s four goals and nine of the club’s 12 points in Wednesday’s game against Minnesota, giving the trio 30 points (12g-18a) in the last 10 games. Arnott scored two goals against the Wild for his 16th multi-goal game as a Predator, second only to David Legwand
(18). He also posted a season-high three points (2g-1a), giving him six goals and 10 points in his last eight outings. Sullivan posted his third four-point game as a Predator (1g-3a) at Minnesota, and first since Feb. 21, 2004 at Phoenix, giving him 11 points (4g-7a) in his last 10 games. With two assists, Dumont registered his 50th multi-point game as a Predator, moving past Cliff Ronning and into a tie with Scott Walker for fifth on the franchise’s multi-point games list.
Of Arnott’s team-leading nine goals, five have come in the first period and six have come on home ice. Sullivan has assisted on six of them, including each of the last four. Dumont has a helper on five of the nine, and has assisted on 50 of Arnott’s 97 goals since the duo joined came to Nashville prior to the 2006-07 campaign.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
has assists (2a) in two of his last three games, matching his point total from the first 25 games of the season… Marcel Goc
has three goals in his last 11 games played, topping his 55-game output (2g) with San Jose in 2008-09… Martin Erat
has six points (3g-3a) in his last seven games… David Legwand
has nine points (4g-5a) in his last nine games. The club is 4-0-0 this season when he scores… The Predators are 14-2-2 over the past two seasons when Joel Ward
scores, and are 9-0-0 in 2009-10 when Ward registers a point… Since coming off the bench to earn the decision in a 4-3 victory at Minnesota on Oct. 28, Pekka Rinne
is tied for the League lead in wins, going 10-3-0 with a 2.24 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage and a pair of shutouts in that span… Of J.P. Dumont’s team-leading 14 assists, half have come on the power play, while half have come on home ice… Cody Franson
leads the Predators, and ranks third among rookie defensemen in plus/minus (plus-4).