TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. ANAHEIM
Anaheim visits the Sommet Center for the first time this season tonight, the first time Nashville has played on the day after New Year’s Day since its inaugural season – a 4-1 loss at Carolina on Jan. 2, 1999. In the only other meeting between the teams this campaign – on Nov. 5 at the Honda Center – the Ducks claimed a 4-0 win behind three third-period goals. Nashville outshot Anaheim 40-31 in the game, and both teams were awarded five power-play opportunities (Nashville 0-for-5, Anaheim 1-for-5). For the Predators, the loss was one of just two handed to the club between Oct. 28 and Nov. 27, a four-week span that saw Nashville go 11-2-0. In the last Ducks-Predators matchup in the Music City on March 24, 2009, Anaheim prevailed 2-1 in a shootout, as three of the four games last season between the clubs needed extra time to determine a winner. The Predators took six of a possible eight points in those four games, including the only regulation-decided game on Feb. 5, 2009 in Nashville.
On home ice, the Preds have done no worse than a .500 points percentage against Anaheim for the last eight seasons – overall they are 10-6-(2)-2 in 20 games against the Ducks in Nashville. The home team has had the edge in the series over the past four-plus seasons, winning 13-of-17 matchups.
All-time series highlight: On Oct. 8, 2005 –in game No. 2 of the 2005-06 season –the Predators took part in their first-ever shootout, and claimed a 3-2 victory behind new Predator, and former Duck, Paul Kariya’s shootout-deciding conversion. Yanic Perrault scored both of Nashville’s regulation tallies. It was the second of eight consecutive victories (three of which were determined in the shootout) to start the campaign, which at the time tied for the second longest in NHL history.
The Nashville Predators are 0-1-0 all-time in games played on January 2. The Preds dropped a 4-1 decision at Carolina in 1999.
Shea Weber led all team scorers against Anaheim last season, with five points (1g-4a) in four games. The 2009 All-Star notched a pair of assists in game Nos. 1 and 3 of the series, and scored a power-play marker in the series finale… Fellow defensemen Dan Hamhuis (1g-3a) and Ryan Suter (4a) also averaged a point per game against the Ducks in 2008-09… Joel Ward led all Nashville goal scorers in the 2008-09 series with three tallies… In three career games against Anaheim, Ryan Jones has a pair of goals… As a Predator, Steve Sullivan has 11 points (4g-7a) in 13 games against the Ducks.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Ducks Martin Erat – Career-high eight penalty minutes on Jan. 17, 2008.
Dan Hamhuis – Played his first NHL game on Oct. 9, 2003. Ryan Suter – Career-high three assists on March 18, 2009. Shea Weber – Career-high 15 penalty minutes on Feb. 3, 2007. TEAM QUICK HITS
The Predators are 21-8-2 in 31 games since Oct. 28… The Predators currently sit at 24-14-3 (51 points) for the season, which is five wins/10 points ahead of last season’s 40-game record (19-19-3), and four wins/nine points ahead of the pace set by its 2007-08 playoff team (20-19-2)… Nashville is 20-8-3 in games decided by two-or-fewer goals – the second-most wins in the NHL (behind only New Jersey, 21)… Nashville has given up the first goal of the game – and come back to win – in each of the last two games. It is 16-3-1 when scoring the first goal of the game – tied for fifth-best in the League, and 8-11-2 when giving up the first goal, 10th in the NHL… The Predators have been outshot in six of the last eight games. They are 13-4-2 when outshooting the opposition – fifth-best when doing so, and 9-9-1 when being outshot… Including three shootout winners, the Predators have scored 79 goals in the last 23 games, an average of 3.43 goals per game. In the first 18 games of 2009-10, Nashville scored just 40 times (including one shootout winner), an average of 2.22 goals per game. The Predators have scored four-or-more goals 14 times in the last 23 games (including shootout winners), and in seven of the last 11. Prior to the current 22-game stretch, they had just three four-or-more goal games in the first 18 contests of 2009-10… The Predators are fifth in the League in even-strength markers (84)… The Predators are tied for first in the NHL in fewest penalty minutes per game (9.4), and rank fifth in fewest times shorthanded (137)… Nashville has scored in the first period 18 of the last 24 games (25 goals), in 10-of-12 second periods (18), and in 11-of-13 third frames (17)… Nashville is 15-1-1 when scoring on the power play and 24-4-3 when scoring more than one goal… Nashville also has the League’s second-best record when leading after one period (13-1-0). PLAYER QUICK HITS Joel Ward posted his fourth multi-point performance in the last eight games on Thursday at Columbus, giving him nine points (2g-7a) in that span. The team is 15-0-0 this season when Ward registers a point, and 17-2-2 since the start of last season when he scores a goal… David Legwand’s overtime goal on Thursday made him one of just five NHLers with more than one extra-session tally. He has nine points (4g-5a) in his last 10 games, including points in back-to-back contests (1g-1a). Additionally, he has 20 points (8g-12a) in his last 23 games after starting the season with five points in the team’s first 18 contests of 2009-10. The club is 8-0-1 this season when he scores, and 21-6-2 this season when he skates 19:00-or-more… Steve Sullivan has 19 points (7g-12a) in his last 24 games after starting the season with five points (2g-3a) in the club’s first 17 games of 2009-10.