TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. EDMONTON
Nashville makes its final 2009-10 regular season stop in Edmonton tonight, the second of a three-game western Canada road trip for the club. Last time the Preds and Oil met – at Rexall Place on Dec. 17 – Nashville doubled-up the home team, winning 6-3 despite giving up the game’s first two goals. Dan Ellis picked up the win in a relief appearance in net, stopping 21-of-22 shots over the final 54:52 of the contest, while Patric Hornqvist tied a career high with two goals and three points. David Legwand, Ryan Suter and J.P. Dumont all posted two assists in the victory, while Joel Ward also notched a pair of points (1g-1a). The victory was the sixth road game in a stretch of seven away from Nashville that saw the team go 6-0-1, tying a franchise record for most consecutive road games with a point. The six-goal outburst was the third of four straight games that saw the Predators score five-or-more goals, also tying a club record. The victory not only improved Nashville to 12-2-0 overall against Edmonton since the start of the 2006-07 season – averaging 3.93goals per game in those 14 contests – but it was the club’s sixth victory in its last seven trips to the NHL’s northern-most city. In those seven games, the Predators have outscored the Oilers 28-14, and have put up four-or-more goals in five of the games.
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.
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.
Dumont has 20 points (5g-15a) in 13 games against Edmonton since joining the Predators. That is his best point-per-game average against a Western Conference foe, and tied for the highest point total (with Detroit) against any team in the league since coming to the club… Hornqvist leads the team in points against Edmonton this season with four (2g-2a) in two games. He as points (3g-2a) in each of his first three career games against the Oilers… Legwand has more career points against Edmonton (10g-18a-28pts in 34gms) than any other non-divisional opponent in the League… Shea Weber has 10 points (5g-5a) in 13 career games against the Oilers… Ellis has won six-of-seven career decisions against Edmonton, while Pekka Rinne is three-for-four.
The Nashville Predators are 2-1-1 with one tie in five all-time in games played on January 12. The Predators split games in 2002 and 2003 with a 2-1 home win vs. Anaheim ('02) and 0-2 road loss at Chicago ('03). On Jan. 12, 2004 the game against Minnesota ended in a 3-3 tie. Nashville played its last two Jan. 12 games vs. division rival Columbus, a 2-0 shutout win in '07 and a 1-2 shootout loss in '08.
Nashville has gone 9-2-1 in its last 12 road games dating back to Nov. 12, scoring 45 goals in that span (average of 3.76). The Predators have scored four-or-more goals in eight of the 12 games… Nashville is tied for second in even-strength road goals (54), behind only Washington... The Predators are also fourth in the League road goal differential (+9).
Individually, Marcel Goc has points in nine of his last 11 road games (7g-5a), and has 13 of his 16 points this season away from Nashville… Shea Weber is tied for eighth in goals among NHL blueliners on the road, with six of his eight goals coming away from Nashville – that total leads the league among players at his position… Rookie defenseman Cody Franson is tied for fifth among first-year d-men in points (3g-9a), with 11 of his 12 (3g-8a) points coming on the road.
WEBER HEATS UP Shea Weber posted his 150th career NHL point with a game-winning power-play goal in last night’s 3-2 win at Vancouver. The goal gave Weber nine points (2g-7a) in his last seven games. He enters tonight’s contest tied for 11th among NHL d-men in points (27) and tied for eighth at his position in goals (8). Weber leads NHL d-men in goals on the road this season (6) and is tied for shots on goal (123) among league blueliners along with Boston’s Zdeno Chara.
HORNQVIST’S HOT STREAK CONTINUES Patric Hornqvist lit the lamp for the third straight game (4g), and for the 11th time in the last 13 outings on Saturday vs. Anaheim. Although he was held off the score sheet in Nashville’s 3-2 win last night at Vancouver, the second-year forward launched a team-high seven shots on goal and has 20 shots in his last three games. He enters tonight’s contest with 16 points (11g-5a) in his last 14 games.
Named to the Swedish Olympic Team on Dec. 27, Hornqvist scored 11 of his first 13 goals this season while at even strength, but his last four have come on the power play, moving him into the team lead in that category (6), in addition to tops on the Predators in total goals (17) and game winners (4). Additionally, his goal total and power-play goal totals are good for fourth among countrymen playing in the NHL, while his four game-winning goals is tied for second among Swedes. The final selection in the 2005 Entry Draft (230th overall), Hornqvist has experienced a 15-goal increase from his rookie season of 2008-09 – tops in the NHL among players who skated in at least 20 games last season.
TEAM QUICK HITS
Nashville is 4-4-0 on the front-end of back-to-backs, and 4-3-0 on the back end… The Predators are 5-1-1 on the road against Northwest Division teams in 2009-10 after going 3-7-0 in Northwest Division venues a season ago… Nashville is 24-10-2 in 35 games since Oct. 28, and currently sit at 27-16-3 (57 points) for the season – the third-best 46-game record in franchise history. The current pace is seven wins/14 points ahead of last season’s 46-game record (20-23-3), and six wins/11 points ahead of their pace set in 2007-08 when the club last made the playoffs (21-21-4)… Nashville is 23-9-3 in games decided by two goals… The Predators have scored four-or-more goals in 15 of the last 28 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 three shootout winners, the Predators have scored 92 goals in the last 28 games, an average of 3.29 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 in 45 of their last 58 regulation periods (77.9 percent). The team has a goal in 18 of its last 20 third periods (25 goals)… The Predators are first in the NHL in fewest penalty minutes per game (9.0), and rank third in fewest times shorthanded (150). They’ve been shorthanded just 10 times in the last five games… Nashville is 17-3-1 when scoring first, which is good for third in the NHL, 17-3-1 when scoring on the power play and 27-5-3 when scoring more than one goal… The Predators have the League’s second-best record when leading after one period (15-1-0)… Nashville to 15-5-2 when outshooting the opposition – the third-best record in the NHL.