TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. EDMONTON
Nashville and Edmonton hook up for the second time this season tonight at Rexall Place, the first time Nashville had visited the venue since Feb. 1, 2009. In the first meeting of the season on Oct. 12, 2009 at the Sommet Center, the Predators fell to the Oilers for the first time on home ice since Oct. 29, 2005 by a 6-1 margin. They had won seven consecutive home games over the nearly four-year span. Nashville won in its last trip to Edmonton last February, by a 2-1 score thanks to goals by J.P. Dumont and Jason Arnott, and Pekka Rinne’s 32 saves. It was the fifth victory in Nashville’s last six trips to the NHL’s northern-most city. In those six games, the Predators have outscored the Oil 22-11, and have put up four-or-more goals in four of the games. Overall, the Predators are 11-2-0 against Edmonton since the start of the 2006-07, sweeping the seasons series twice (2006-07 and 2007-08) while averaging 3.77 goals per game in the 13 contests.
All-time series highlights:Martin Erat registered his first career hat trick –and just the second road hat trick in franchise history –in a 5-1 victory at Rexall Place on March 4, 2008.
Jason Arnott had Nashville’s lone goal of the game in the Oct. 12 matchup. He has 11 points (6g-5a) in 12 games against the Oil and 24 points (10g-14a) in 27 games since leaving Edmonton – his first NHL team – in 1998. Arnott started his career with Edmonton in 1993-94, establishing a franchise rookie record for goals (33), breaking Jari Kurri’s mark set in 1980-81. He represented Edmonton in the 1997 All-Star Game and accumulated 239 points (100g-139a) in 286 games with the club before being traded to New Jersey on Jan. 4, 1998 along with Bryan Muir for Valeri Zelepukin and Bill Guerin.
The Preds are 2-2-0 all-time in games played on December 17. The Preds dropped games in 1998 to San Jose, 3-1 and in 2002 to Calgary, 3-0. Nashville then went on to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-3 at home in 2005 and came up with the 2-1 overtime win in St. Louis in 2006.
J.P. Dumont led the offensive attack against Edmonton last season, putting up six points (1g-5a) in four games, and did not appear in the Oct. 12 game. He has 18 points (5g-13a) in 12 games against Edmonton since joining the Predators, and an even 20 points (6g-14a) in 20 games against the Oilers for his career… Patric Hornqvist has points (1g-1a) in each of his first two career games against Edmonton… David Legwand has more career points against Edmonton (10g-16a-26pts in 33gms) than any other non-divisional opponent in the League… Shea Weber has 10 points (5g-5a) in 12 career games against the Oilers… Dan Ellis has won five-of-six career decisions against Edmonton, while Pekka Rinne is three-for-four.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Oilers Kevin Klein –Career high two assists/points on March 3, 2009. Jerred Smithson –First game as a Predator on Nov. 8, 2005. TEAM QUICK HITS
Including shootout winners, the Predators have scored 56 goals in the last 16 games, an average of 3.5 goals per game. In the first 18 games of 2009-10, Nashville scored just 39 times, an average of 2.17 goals per game… The Predators have scored four-or-more goals 10 times in the last 16 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... Since Nov. 27, Nashville has scored 33 of its 37 goals over an 11-game span (excluding shootouts) at even strength (89.1 percent)… The Predators have scored in five consecutive second periods, outscoring the opposition 12-6 in that span… Nashville has scored in the first period 14 of the last 17 games (17 goals) and in seven of the last eight (eight goals)… Nashville is 13-1-1 when scoring on the power play, 20-3-3 when scoring more than one goal, and 15-2-1 when scoring the first goal of the game –the League’s fourth-best winning percent (.833) in that situation… Nashville is 18-7-3 in games decided by two goals or less. Its eight victories in two-goal games is tops in the League, while the club’s 9-3-3 record in one-goal contests is seventh… The Predators are 11-4-2 when outshooting its foe, tied the League’s third-best record in that situation… Nashville also has the League’s third-best record when leading after one period (10-1-0), and is one of just six teams to be perfect when leading after two periods (12-0-0)… Nashville has won 999 face-offs this season, fifth-most in the League.
COUNTING WINS AND POINTS
The Predators reached the 20-win mark in 34 games – the third fastest in franchise history behind 2005-06 (30) and 2006-07 (31). At 20-11-3 (43 points), Nashville is three wins/six points ahead of last season’s 34-game record (17-14-3), and four wins/nine points ahead of its mark from 2007-08 (16-16-2)… Prior to Wednesday’s games, Nashville was tied for first in the Central Division… Nashville is 4-3-1 against the Northwest Division this season, including a 2-0-1 mark against the Northwest on the road. A season ago, the Predators went 7-13-0 against the Northwest with a 3-7-0 record on the road… Nashville plays seven of nine games on the road between Dec. 14 and Dec. 31 after being at home for 12-of-15 games between Nov. 14 and Dec. 14… Nashville is 17-5-2 in its last 24 games, and 5-1-1 in its last seven games… The Predators have points in their last five road games (4-0-1) – tied for the third-longest such streak in franchise history behind a seven-gamer (7-0-0) Oct. 16-Nov. 4, 2006 and a six-gamer (4-0-2) Jan. 4-24, 2006. PLAYER QUICK HITS Martin Erat has seven goals in his last six games, tying him with Florida’s Stephen Weiss for the most in the NHL during December. His 11 points (7g-4a) in eight games this month is fourth-best in the NHL. Since Nov. 21, he has 16 points (10g-6a) in 14 contests – tied for second in the League in goals and tied for third in points since that date. Erat had four points (1g-3a) in his first 17 games of 2009-10. Erat is tied for the team lead in goals (11), with all but one of them coming on home ice. Of his nine assists this season, eight have come on the road… David Legwand has points in three consecutive games (2g-2a), giving him 15 points (6g-9a) in his last 16 games after starting the season with five points in the team’s first 18 contests of 2009-10. The club is 5-0-1 this season when he scores, and 18-4-2 this season when he skates 19:00-or-more… Ryan Jones has goals/points in three consecutive games for the first time in his career (3g-1a). He was held pointless in his first 12 games of the season prior… Marcel Goc has six points (3g-3a) in his last 12 games after posting two points (1g-1a) in his first 20 outings of 2009-10. He’s only three points shy of last season’s point total (2g-9a), and has already equaled his output from 2007-08 (5g-3a)… Steve Sullivan posted his seventh career hat trick on Monday – three years to the day after his most recent hat trick when he scored the fastest three goals by an individual in franchise history on Dec. 14, 2006 vs. Ottawa (5:56). He has points in three straight after posting an assist on Tuesday, and has 11 points (4g-7a) in his last eight games. Additionally, Sullivan has 18 points (7g-11a) in his last 17 games after starting the season with five points (2g-3a) in the club’s first 17 games of 2009-10… Jason Arnott has 15 points (8g-7a) in his last 15 games… Shea Weber has assists in three of the last four games, moving him into a tied for 16th among NHL defensemen in points (6g-12a)… Pekka Rinne has points (3-0-2 record) in each of his last five starts, and has a 14-3-2 record in his last 19 decisions.