TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. CALGARY
The Flames visit Nashville for the second and final time in 2009-10 tonight, the third of four meetings between the clubs this season. The Predators will wrap up the season series with a trip to Calgary 10 days from now. The last time the teams hooked up – three weeks ago at the Pengrowth Saddledome – the Predators claimed a 5-3 victory. Not only did the win tie a franchise record for most consecutive road games with a point (6-0-1) but also tied a club mark for consecutive games with five-or-more goals (four). With the game tied at 3-3 after 40 minutes, Cody Franson scored his second career game-winning goal at 4:14 of the third, and David Scatchard provided an empty netter to seal the victory. Marcel Goc set a career high with three points (1g-2a), while Martin Erat also notched a goal and two assists to snap a five-game losing streak against Calgary. In the first meeting of the season, also the last game between the clubs at the Sommet Center, the Flames took a 5-0 decision. The Predators are 13-8-1 against the Flames all-time in the Music City, but will be looking for their first home win over the team since a 3-0 decision on Jan. 15, 2008. Prior to the current three-game winless streak, Nashville had gone 11-2-1 at home against Calgary dating back to the start of the 2000-01 season. Overall, Nashville holds a 21-15-(3)-4 edge all-time.
All-time series highlight: In a late-season intra-conference matchup tied 4-4 midway through the game on March 18, 2006, the Nashville Predators scored five unanswered goals to tie a franchise record with a 9-4 victory overall Calgary at the Sommet Center. The only other time a Nashville team had scored nine goals in a single outing was March 4, 2004 at Pittsburgh. Mike Sillinger led the offensive assault, tallying four assists, two of which came on the power play, which finished the evening 3-for-nine. Three other Preds notched three-point games, led by Paul Kariya’s two goals and an assist.
The Predators are 2-2-0 all-time in games played on January 5. After dropping games at Dallas in 2000 (3-1) and at Detroit in 2004 (6-0), Nashville has won its last two Jan. 5 games, 8-3 at Chicago in 2007 and 4-1 vs. Minnesota in 2008.
In addition to Goc and Erat’s three-point outings last time out against Calgary, Franson also had an assist for his second career multi-point contest (1g-1a), and Joel Ward had two helpers. Erat has seven points (2g-5a) in his last six games against Calgary… Jason Arnott did not play the last time these two teams met. He has five points (3g-2a) in his last five games against the Flames, and 15 points (10g-5a) in 13 games against the Flames as a Predator. His 26 career goals against them is tied for the most against a single opponent with San Jose… J.P. Dumont has amassed 14 points (5g-9a) in 14 games against Calgary while with Nashville… Predator winger Wade Belak spent parts of three seasons with Calgary from 1999-2001, amassing 222 penalty minutes and three assists in 71 games. He was acquired by the Flames, along with Robyn Regehr, in the deal that sent Theo Fleury to Colorado on Feb. 28, 1999. TEAM QUICK HITS
Nashville is 6-4-1 so far this season against the Northwest Division after going 7-13-0 against it a season ago… The Predators are 22-8-2 in 32 games since Oct. 28… The Predators currently sit at 25-14-3 (53 points) for the season, which is six wins/12 points ahead of last season’s 42-game record (19-20-3), and five wins/11 points ahead of the pace set by its 2007-08 playoff team (20-20-2)… Nashville is 21-8-3 in games decided by two-or-fewer goals – the second-most wins in the NHL (behind only New Jersey, 22)… The Predators are tied for first in the NHL in fewest penalty minutes per game (9.3), and rank fourth in fewest times shorthanded (139). They’ve been shorthanded just three times in the last two games… Nashville is 15-1-1 when scoring on the power play and 25-4-3 when scoring more than one goal… Nashville also has the League’s second-best record when leading after one period (13-1-0).
ON THE OFFENSIVE
The Predators are seventh in the League in even-strength markers (86). Of the Predators 38 goals scored since a 5-3 win at Columbus on Dec. 15, 36 of the club’s 38 goals have come while at even strength… Nashville is 16-3-1 when scoring the game’s first goal, the sixth-best record in the NHL… Including three shootout winners, the Predators have scored 82 goals in the last 24 games, an average of 3.42 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 24 games (including shootout winners). Prior to the current 22-game stretch, they had just three four-or-more goal games in the first 18 contests of 2009-10… Since Dec. 2, the Predators have scored in 39-of-48 regulation periods (81.3 percent), including a stretch of 14 straight periods with a goal between Dec. 12-19. Nashville has scored in the first period 18 of the last 25 games (25 goals), in 11-of-13 second periods (19), and in 12-of-14 third frames (19). PLAYER QUICK HITS Shea Weber – named to the Canadian Olympic Team last Wednesday – has five points in his last three games (1g-4a). He is now tied for 14th among NHL blueliners in points (23), and tied for 11th in goals (7). The Sicamous, B.C., native’s 10 shots on Saturday boosted his season total to 114 for the season – tops among NHL d-men… Marcel Goc, another 2010 Olympian who was picked to his third straight German squad last Wednesday, has 10 points (4g-6a) in his last nine games, and 13 points (6g-7a) in his last 16 outings after posting three points (2g-1a) in his first 24 contests of 2009-10… Patric Hornqvist – a Swedish Olympian – has points (7g-4a) in eight-of-10 games. Twenty (11g-9a) of Hornqvist’s 22 points (13g-9a) this season have come at even strength… David Legwand has points in three straight games (2g-1a), including goals in his last two outings. He scored the overtime game winner last Thursday at Columbus to make him one of just six NHLers with more than one extra-session tally, and posted an empty netter with less than one second left in Saturday’s win. He has 10 points (5g-5a) in his last 11 games. Additionally, he has 21 points (9g-12a) in his last 24 games after starting the season with five points in the team’s first 18 contests of 2009-10. The club is 9-0-1 this season when he scores, and 22-6-2 this season when he skates 19:00-or-more… Joel Ward notched a point for the third consecutive game on Saturday (1g-3a), giving him 10 points (2g-8a) in his last 10 games. The team is 16-0-0 this season when Ward registers a point, and 17-2-2 since the start of last season when he scores a goal… With his three-point game on Saturday vs. Anaheim (1g-2a), Jason Arnott now has 20 points (9g-11a) in his last 22 games played. Arnott had one assist in his 10 games played prior to the current stretch.