TONIGHT'S STORYLINES VS. CHICAGO
Nashville faces Chicago for the sixth and final time during the 2009-10 regular season tonight. The Blackhawks downed the Preds 4-1 last night at the Sommet Center in Nashville. Martin Erat tied the game 1-1 in the second period but Chicago went on to score three times in the second frame en route to victory. The Preds, who are 2-3 vs. Chicago this season, will look to even the series tonight. Prior to last night's contest, the Predators had won their two previous meetings vs. the Blackhawks -- one at home and one on the road -- after dropping the first two games of the season series.
Last time the Preds and Hawks clashed at the United Center was on Dec. 4. Nashville claimed a 4-1 victory, scoring four straight after relinquishing the game's first goal. Dan Hamhuis, Erat and Jordin Tootoo all had a goal and an assist to lead the way offensively, while Dan Ellis stopped 34-of-35 Blackhawk shots. The Predators also downed Chicago 2-0 on Oct. 29 at the Sommet Center. That night, Pekka Rinne made 22 saves in the whitewash, and Joel Ward (power play) and Jerred Smithson (shorthanded) provided the offense with special teams goals. Chicago defeated the Preds3-1 in Nashville on Oct. 15 and 2-0 at the UC on Oct. 24. Nashville has posted a 18-15-3 record against Chicago since the start of the 2005-06 season, with 10 of those victories coming on home ice. The 68 all-time meetings between the clubs is fairly even, with Nashville holding a 31-30-7 record.
Martin Erat leads the team in points against Chicago this season with four (3g-1a) in four games. He has nine points (4g-5a) in his last seven games against Chicago... Besides Erat, Joel Ward is the only other Predator with multiple goals against Chicago this season (2). Erat and Ward have Nashville's two game-winners against the Hawks in 2009-10... David Legwand has picked up more goals (18), assists (27) and points (45) against Chicago, than any other player in franchise history against any other team. He has six points (3g-3a) in his last eight games against the Hawks... As a Predator, Steve Sullivan has 22 points (7g-15a) in 25 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, 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 31 career games against Chicago.
The Preds are 3-0-0 all-time in games played on December 27. The Preds came up with road wins in 2003 in Phoenix, 3-1 and in 2005 in Calgary, 4-3. On Dec. 27, 2007 the Predators defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets on home ice in a 4-3 decision.
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. David Legwand - Most points (3g-1a) in a game and first career hat trick on Jan. 20, 2007. Kevin Klein - First NHL goal on Jan. 26, 2007 against Khabibulin. Pekka Rinne - First NHL game and win on Dec. 15, 2005. Ryan Suter - First NHL goal on Dec. 21, 2005 against Khabibulin. TEAM QUICK HITS
The Predators are 6-1-1 in their last eight road games... This is the club's seventh of 15 back-to-back sets in 2009-10. So far, they are 3-4-0 on the front end and 4-2-0 on the back end... Nashville is 6-2-1 in its last nine games and 19-7-2 in 28 - games since Oct. 28... The Predators currently sit at 22-13-3 (47 points) for the season, which is five wins/10 points ahead of last season's 38-game record (17-18-3), and four wins/nine points ahead of the pace set by its 2007-08 playoff team (18-18-2)... The Predators are 7-4-1 against intra-divisional foes this season... Tonight's game marks the first of three straight for Nashville on the road... The Predators have scored a goal in 16 of their last 20 regulation periods... The Predators have scored four-or-more goals 12 times in the last 20 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... Nashville has scored in the first period 16 of the last 21 games (22 goals) and in nine of the last 12 (13 goals)... The Predators have scored in eight-of-nine second periods (16)... Nashville has scored 18 game-winning goals this season, with the average age of the goal scorer being 27 years, 8 months. Seven have been scored by players under 25, while 13 have come from players under 30... Nashville is 14-1-1 when scoring on the power play, 22-3-3 when scoring more than one goal, and 16-2-1 when scoring the first goal of the game... The Predators are 12-4-2 when outshooting their foe, 19-7-3 in games decided by two goals or less, including a league-best nine victories in two-goal games... Nashville is one of just six teams to be perfect when leading after two periods (13-0-0). PLAYER QUICK HITS Patric Hornqvist has eight points (5g-3a) in his last six games... Marcel Goc has seven points (2g-5a) in his last five contests... Martin Erat (2g-4a), David Legwand (2g-4a) and Joel Ward (1g-5a) each have six points in their last six games. Erat has points in 10 of Nashville's 12 December games. His nine goals and 16 points (9g-7a) ranks among league leaders for the month of December. Erat leads the team in points and goals (13g-12a-25pts), with 11 of the 13 scores coming on home ice. Of his 12 assists this season, 11 have come on the road... Legwand has points in five-of-seven games (3g-4a). He also has 18 points (7g-11a) in his last 20 games after starting the season with five points in the team's first 18 contests of 2009-10. The club is 6-0-1 this season when he scores, and 20-6-2 this season when he skates 19:00-or-more... The team is 13-0-0 this season when Ward registers a point, and 16-2-2 since the start of last season when he registers a point... Steve Sullivan has 11 points (4g-7a) in his last 12 games and 18 points (7g-11a) in his last 21 games after starting the season with five points (2g-3a) in the club's first 17 games of 2009-10... Jason Arnott has 16 points (8g-8a) in his last 18 games played... J.P. Dumont has four points (1g-3a) in his last five games.