TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. CALGARY
Nashville wraps up its 2009-10 season series with Calgary tonight at the Pengrowth Saddledome, the second Western Conference foe the Predators will check of their list (Chicago was the first on Dec. 27). The last time the Predators visited the ‘Dome on Dec. 19, they pulled out 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 it 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. Additionally, the win snapped a five-game losing streak for the club against Calgary. Nashville has dropped the other two meetings of the teams this season, both on home ice. Calgary earned a 3-1 decision 10 days ago at the Sommet Center, and claimed a 5-0 win on Nov. 30 in the Music City. Since the start of the 2005-06 campaign, the Predators have gone 5-3-1 in the Stampede City, and are 8-7-(3)-3 in 21 trips to Calgary to Calgary all-time. Nashville posted a 9-2-1 overall record against Calgary from 2005-08 – including a seven-game winning streak from Nov. 29, 2005-March 8, 2007 – helping it to a 21-16-(3)-4 edge in 44 total meetings.
In addition to Goc and Erat’s three-point outings last time Nashville was in 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 seven games against Calgary, and has 22 points (6g-16a) in 25 games against the Flames for his career – his highest point total against a non-Central Division foe… Patric Hornqvist scored Nashville’s lone goal 10 days ago, and has three points (1g-2a) in four career games against the Flames… J.P. Dumont has amassed 14 points (5g-9a) in 15 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.
The Nashville Predators are 6-2-0 all-time in games played on January 15., including a 2-0-0 mark against the Calgary Flames. This is the third time in four years the Preds and Flames will meet on Jan. 15; Nashville won 5-3 in 2007 and 3-0 in 2008. The Predators knocked off Phoenix 2-0 in 1999 and Pittsburgh 4-2 in 2000, before suffering a 0-2 loss to LA in 2002. The Preds again beat Phoenx in 2004 (4-3) and Pittsburgh in 2006 (5-4). Last season Nashville dropped 3-2 decision to Montreal.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Flames David Legwand – Tied a career-high with three assists on March 18, 2006. Joel Ward – Career-high five penalty minutes on Nov. 6, 2008. TEAM QUICK HITS
The Predators entered Thursday night’s games tied for fifth in the League in wins (28) and road wins (14), and tied for sixth in points (59)… Nashville is 25-10-2 in 36 games since Oct. 28, and currently sit at 28-16-3 (59 points) for the season – the third-best 47-game record in franchise history. The current pace is seven wins/14 points ahead of last season’s 47-game record (21-23-3), and six wins/11 points ahead of their pace set in 2007-08 when the club last made the playoffs (22-21-4)… Nashville is 24-9-3 in games decided by two goals or less. Its win total in those situations was tied for first in the League with New Jersey entering Thursday night’s games… The Predators have scored four-or-more goals in 16 of the last 29 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 97 goals in the last 29 games, an average of 3.34 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 48 of their last 61 regulation periods (78.7 percent). The team has a goal in 19 of its last 21 third periods (27 goals), and are tied for eighth in third-period goals (47)… Nashville is eventh in the NHL in even-strength goals (93)… The Nashville power play is 6-for-20 (30 percent) over the past five games… The Predators are first in the NHL in fewest penalty minutes per game (9.0), and rank fourth in fewest times shorthanded (153)… Nashville is 18-3-1 when scoring first, which is good for third in the NHL, 17-3-1 when scoring on the power play and 28-5-3 when scoring more than one goal… The Predators have the League’s second-best record when leading after one period (16-1-0)… Nashville to 15-5-2 when outshooting the opposition – the second-best record in the NHL.
WESTERN CANADA WARRIORS
With wins over Vancouver and Edmonton to start this three-game swing through Western Canada, the Predators are now 21-12-2 at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Rexall Place and GM Place combined since the start of the 2005-06 season. Additionally, Nashville is 6-1-1 on the road against Northwest Division teams in 2009-10 after going 3-7-0 in Northwest Division venues a season ago… In its last 13 road games dating back to Nov. 12, the club is 10-2-1, scoring 50 goals (3.85 per game). Nine times in the 13 games the Predators have scored four-or-more goals. Nashville is also second in the League in even-strength road goals (59), behind only Washington... The Predators are also fourth in the League road goal plus/minus (+13).
Individually, Marcel Goc has points in 10 of his last 13 road games (9g-6a), and has 15 of his 18 points this season away from Nashville… Shea Weber has seven of his nine goals away from the Sommet Center, putting him tops among NHL d-men in road goals (7)… 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.
SEVEN WITH 25
The Predators go into Friday’s game with seven different players having 25-or-more points this season. Entering Thursday night’s games, that total was tied with Toronto, Philadelphia and Washington for tops in the NHL.
WEBER GETS HOT, NAMED TO TEAM CANADA
Since Dec. 29 – the day before being named to the Canadian Olympic Team – Shea Weber has points in six of eight games, and his 11 points (2g-9a) since that date leads all NHL blueliners. He enters tonight’s contest with goals in back-to-back games for the first time this season and the sixth time in his career – he’s never scored in three straight contests. His recent surge has moved the Sicamous, B.C., native into a tied for eighth in points among League d-men (9g-20a), a tie for fourth at the position in goals, and a tie for sixth in power-play goals (4). He is also second to only Boston’s Zdeno Chara (128) in shots (125).
HORNQVIST SCORES AGAIN Patric Hornqvist scored his fifth-game winning goal of the season on Tuesday – tied for fifth in the NHL – to boost his goal total to 12 in the last 15 games. His goal total since the start of the hot stretch, which started one month ago on Dec. 14, is a League high. He also has six assists in that span, giving him 18 points in the 15 outings. Named to the Swedish Olympic Team on Dec. 27, Hornqvist is tied for third among countrymen in goals (18), and has scored four of his last five goals on the power play, moving him into first on the team in that category (6). The final selection in the 2005 Entry Draft (230th overall), Hornqvist has experienced a 16-goal increase from his rookie season of 2008-09 – tops in the NHL among players who skated in at least 20 games last season.