TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. COLUMBUS
Nashville visits Nationwide Arena for the first time this season, its third of six games against the Blue Jackets in 2009-10. It is also the second of three meetings between the clubs this month, with the final one coming on New Year’s Eve in Ohio. The Predators lead the season series 2-0 thanks to a pair of 4-3 shootout victories at the Sommet Center – one just four days ago, and the other on Nov. 21. The clubs have now needed a shootout to decide things in four of the last six meetings.
On Thursday, the Predators beat the Blue Jackets at home for the 13th consecutive time going back to Nov. 18, 2006 behind goals by Jason Arnott, Martin Erat
and Dave Scatchard. Ryan Suter
pitched in two assists while Arnott, Marcel Goc
and Steve Sullivan
(shootout-deciding goal) scored in the five-round shootout, snapping Mathieu Garon’s 13-game winning streak in the breakaway competition. The three shootout goals were the second-most shootout tallies in franchise history, and the most since notching four goals in a franchise-record six-round shootout on March 21, 2006 at Detroit. On Nov. 21, Erat (1g-1a) and David Legwand
(1g-1a) led the way for the Predators, while Arnott also scored. In the breakaway competition, Mike Santorelli improved to 3-for-3 in his career, while Legwand converted his second career shootout-deciding marker. In the two games, Nashville has outshot Columbus by a combined margin of 87-60. Nashville has won the season series in all but Columbus’ first year in existence (2000-01), going 35-8-(1)-4 since 2001-02 and 20-2-2 overall since the start of the 2006-07 campaign. The Predators are 7-2-2 in their last 11 visits to Ohio’s capital city. The home team has won 12 of the last 13 meetings in the series dating back to Dec. 27, 2007.
All-time series highlights:
On March 28, 2008, Dan Ellis stopped all 43 shots he faced, finishing off back-to-back shutouts over the Blue Jackets in a 2-0 Predators victory. Just three days prior, he had turned aside all 36 shots he faced in a 3-0 Nashville victory at the Sommet Center. The pair of whitewashes was part of the longest shutout streak in franchise history – 233:39 – that lasted from March 22 in a 2-1 shootout win over Chicago to March 30 in a 1-0 overtime loss at Detroit.
Dating back to Nov. 12, 2007, Arnott has points in 11 of the last 12 games he has played against Columbus, amassing 15 points (7g-8a) in that span. He has 36 points (16g-20a) in 35 career games against the Blue Jackets… Erat has 14 points (8g-6a) in his last 14 games against Columbus, including points (6g-4a) in eight of his last nine. He has more points (12g-23a) against Columbus than any other team in his career… Shea Weber
also has more points against Columbus (5g-8a in 20 games) than any other team in his career… Steve Sullivan
has 40 points (13g-27a) in 38 games against Columbus in his career… In five career appearances against Columbus, Dan Ellis has given up just six goals on 161 shots for a 1.25 goals-against average, a .963 save percentage and a pair of shutouts.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Blue Jackets
– Put a career-high nine shots on goal on Nov. 23, 2005.
– A career high two goals on Jan. 13, 2007. A career high three points/assists on Jan. 21, 2006.
– Sixth career penalty shot on Dec. 23, 2005 against Marc Denis (no goal). A career-high four assists on Feb. 15, 2003.
– A career high six shots on goal on March 31, 2009.
– A career high four points and three assists on Oct. 18, 2008.
TEAM QUICK HITS
The Predators play seven of their next nine on the road after being at home for 12-of-15 games between Nov. 14 and Dec. 12… Nashville is 2-3-0 on the front end of back-to-back sets this season, and 3-2-0 on the back end… The Predators are 6-3-1 against the Central Division – they play three of their final seven games this month against intra-divisional foes, and three of their last five have been against the Central… Nashville is 15-5-2 in its last 22 games, and 3-1-1 in its last five games… The power play has gone 4-for-17 over the past four contests (23.5 percent) after an 0-for-16 stretch over the previous five games. Nashville is 13-1-1 when scoring on the power play… The Predators have scored four-or-more goals eight times in the last 14 games (including shootout winners). Prior to the current stretch, they had just three four-or-more goal games in the first 18 contests of 2009-10... Including shootout winners, the Predators have scored 44 goals in the last 14 games, and average of 3.14 goals per game. In the first 18 games, Nashville scored just 39 times, an average of 2.17 goals per game… The Predators have held the opposition without a first period goal for three consecutive games, and in eight of the last 11 contests (six goals). Additionally, the club has scored in the opening frame in 12 of the last 15 games (15 goals)… Nashville is 16-7-3 in games decided by two goals or less. Its 9-3-2 record in one-goal games in sixth best in the NHL, while Nashville is tied with Atlanta for the most wins in two-goal games (7)… Nashville is 18-3-3 when scoring more than one goal, and 13-2-1 when scoring the first goal of the game, tied for the League’s seventh-best winning percent (.813) in that situation… The Predators are 10-4-2 when outshooting its foe, the League’s fifth-best record in that situation… Nashville has the League’s third-best record when leading after one period (10-1-0), and is one of just seven teams to be perfect when leading after two periods (10-0-0)… The Predators are averaging the second-fewest penalty minutes per game (8.9), and have been shorthanded the second-fewest times in the League (102, 3.19 per game).
PLAYER QUICK HITS
Jason Arnott has seven points (4g-3a) in the last six games and 14 points (8g-6a) in his last 13 games. He has eight of his team-leading 11 goals on home ice… Steve Sullivan
has seven points (1g-6a) in his last six games and 14 points (4g-10a) in his last 15 games. In his previous 15 games, he had three points (1g-2a)… David Legwand
has 12 points (5g-7a) in his last 14 games after starting the season with five points in the team’s first 18 contests of 2009-10. The club is 4-0-1 this season when he scores, and 16-4-2 this season when he skates 19:00-or-more… Ryan Suter
has four assists in his last five games. He’s seventh among U.S.-born defensemen in points (2g-13a), and his average ice time of 24:10 is fourth among American players… Pekka Rinne
has points (2-0-2 record) in each of his last four starts, and has a 13-3-2 record in his last 18 decisions.
ERAT LEADS OFFENSIVE CHARGE
has nine points (6g-3a) in his last six games. The hot streak includes his second career hat trick and third career four-point game (Dec. 8 vs. Vancouver). Erat is tied with Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin and Florida’s Stephen Weiss for the most goals in the month of December (6), and is fifth in the NHL in points this month (9). Since posting a goal and an assist in Nashville’s first game this season against Columbus on Nov. 21, he has nine goals, which ranks second only to Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (10). His 14 points (9g-5a) in 12 games since that date rank fourth. Prior to the current 12-game stretch, Erat had four points (1g-3a) in 17 games. Erat ranks second on the team with 10 goals – nine of which he has scored on home ice. Of his eight assists this season, seven have come on the road.