TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. SAN JOSE
San Jose visits the Sommet Center for the second and final time tonight, the third of four games between the Predators and Sharks in 2009-10. The last time Silicon Valley’s team came to town on Nov. 17, Nashville pulled out a 4-3 victory behind three-point performances by David Legwand (1g-2a) and Joel Ward (1g-2a). After scoring a pair of goals in each of the first two frames, Nashville held off a late rush by the Sharks which included tallies in the final minute of both the second and third periods. The Preds outshot the Sharks 32-31, marking one of just three times all season the defending President’s Trophy winners have lost in regulation when being outshot. In the first meeting of the season just seven days prior at HP Pavilion (Nov. 10), Dan Boyle scored at 19:00 of the third period to lift S.J. to its own 4-3 win. The game saw Marcel Goc score his first goal as a Predator against the team he played the first 265 games of his NHL career with from 2005-09. Since posting a 3-6-(1)-0 at home against the Sharks in its first five seasons of existence (1998-99 through 2002-03), Nashville has gone 8-3-0 against San Jose at the Sommet Center dating back to the start of the 2003-04 season. Seven of those 11 games were decided by one goal, and overall, the Preds and Sharks have had seven of their last eight meetings decided by a single goal going back to Feb. 9, 2008.
Ryan Suter notched a pair of assists in the Nov. 17 win, giving him four points (1g-3a) in his last six games against San Jose… Shea Weber has four helpers in his last five games against San Jose, and eight points (2g-6a) in 13 games against it for his career… The Sharks
Fans at the San Jose game will get the "From Smashville to Vancouver" poster.
are one of two teams Jason Arnott has 50-or-more points against, with Phoenix (53) being the other. Nashville’s captain has 50 points (26g-24a) in 52 games against S.J. entering tonight. Additionally, his goal total is tied with his career mark against Calgary for the most against a single team for his career… For his career, Steve Sullivan has 27 points (10g-17a) in 34 career games against the Sharks… Goaltender Pekka Rinne has posted a 2-0-1 record with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage for his career against San Jose… Goc was drafted 20th overall in 2001 (highest ever by a German) by the Sharks. In 265 games with the Sharks from 2005-09, he posted 54 points (20g-34a), and in 37 postseason contested, he amassed eight points (3g-5a). One of the three playoff goals sent San Jose to its last appearance in the Western Conference Finals – he scored the series-clinching goal in Game Six of the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals against Colorado.
The Nashville Predators are 2-2-0 all-time in games played on February 6. The Preds beat Dallas in 2002, 2-1. Nashville dropped decisions back-to-back years -- 4-2 at Dallas in '06 and 4-1 at Pittsburgh in '07 -- before picking up a 2-0 shutout win vs. Minnesota last year.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Sharks
Jason Arnott – Played in his first career game and notched his first career goal on Oct. 6, 1993 against Arturs Irbe.
J.P. Dumont – Scored his first career goal on March 6, 1999 against Steve Shields.
Dan Ellis – Saw a career-high 57 shots and made a career-high 54 saves on Nov. 11, 2008. Martin Erat – Had his only career penalty shot on Feb. 28, 2007 against Evgeni Nabokov (no goal). Steve Sullivan – Played in his first game as a Predator, notched his first goal as a Predator against Nabokov, and posted his fourth career hat trick on Feb. 18, 2004. Ryan Suter – Played in his first career game on Oct. 5, 2005. TEAM QUICK HITS
Nashville is 3-1-1 on home ice this season against the Pacific Division, and 11-2-2 at the Sommet Center vs. Pacific teams since the start of last season... Since a 3-6-1 start to the season, the Predators have gone 28-15-3. With 66 points (31-21-4), the club is four wins/nine points ahead of last season’s 56-game pace (57 points, 27-26-3)… The Predators have amassed a 274-192 edge (plus-82) in the last eight games, outshooting the opposition by 10-or-more shots four times in that span. The Predators have put 30-or-more shots on net in all but one of the games, and racked up 40-shot performances on two occasions – at Phoenix on Jan. 21 when they racked up the second-highest shot advantage in a road game in franchise history (43-23) and Jan. 29 at Detroit when they set a franchise record for shots in road game (48-29). The Predators are 10th in the NHL in shot differential (plus-1.3), and are allowing an average of 29.0 shots per game, eighth fewest in the League. Nashville is 17-10-2 when outshooting the opposition, sixth-best in the NHL… The Predators are 27-15-3 in games decided by two goals or less – that’s tied for tops in the NHL in that situation … The Predators are 17-1-0 when leading after one period, which is tied for first in the NHL with the Coyotes and the Devils, but are also tied for fourth-best record when trailing after one period (6-8-2)… Nashville is 20-3-1 when scoring first, which is good for second in the League behind only Phoenix… The Predators have posted an 18-4-1 record when recording a power-play goal… Nashville is among the League’s Top 5 in fewest times shorthanded (185), and are averaging a League-low 9.0 PIMs a game.
SECOND PERIOD OUTBURST
The Predators racked up four-or-more goals in a period for just the second time this season – and first since a five-goal explosion in the second frame vs. Tampa Bay on Dec. 15 – during Thursday’s second period, thanks to a couple of strong individual performances by Patric Hornqvist and Jason Arnott. Hornqvist scored two of the four goals, both on the power play, marking just the ninth time in franchise history a Predator has scored multiple power-play goals in a single frame (last was Jason Arnott, Nov. 18, 2006 in the second period vs. Columbus). The second goal by the 5-11, 188-pounder was also his third game-winning goal in Nashville’s last four victories, and seventh game winner of the season – tied for first in the League and just one off of the franchise record set by Scott Hartnell in 2005-06, and tied by J.P. Dumont in 2007-08. Arnott had a goal and two assists in the middle frame, tying a club record for most points in a period (attained 26 times prior, last being Martin Erat (3a) in the third period on Feb. 24, 2009 vs. Chicago).
BREAKING DOWN HORNQVIST’S HOT STREAK Patric Hornqvist now has 17 goals and 25 points in the team’s last 24 games dating back to Dec. 14. Prior to Friday’s games, that total was tied with the goal totals of Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby for second in the League since that date behind only Patrick Marleau’s 18 goals. Hornqvist is the only player among the League’s Top 20 goal scorers with less than 100 games of NHL experience, and at 15:14 per game, he has the lowest ice time among 20 goal scorers. The Swedish Olympian’s 21-goal increase from his rookie season of 2008-09 is tops in the NHL among players who skated in at least 20 games last season. Additionally, Hornqvist has scored eight of Nashville’s 13 power-play goals since Dec. 8, tied for the NHL’s highest man-advantage goal total since that date. Twenty-one of Hornqvist’s 23 goals have been scored in the final 45 minutes of regulation.
SHARING THE WEALTH Joel Ward became the eighth Predator to reach double-digits in goals on Thursday – only Washington (10), Chicago (9) and Dallas (9) have more players with 10-or-more goals. Also, Nashville has nine players that have reached 25 points – only Washington (10) and Chicago (10) have more – and seven who have hit 30 points – only Washington (8), Chicago (8) and Los Angeles (8) have more. PLAYER QUICK HITS Shea Weber has 15 points (4g-11a) in his last 17 games, fourth-most among NHL blueliners since Dec. 29, the day prior to his naming the Canadian Olympic Team. Weber is tied for fifth among NHL defensemen in goals (10) and tied for ninth at the position in points (33). His 163 shots on goal are tops among NHL blueliners… Steve Sullivan has recorded an assist in seven of the last eight home games going back to the beginning of 2010, amassing nine points (2g-7a) in those contests… Since returning from a three-game absence due to injury from Jan. 22-29, Joel Ward has three points (2g-1a) in three games. The Predators are 19-0-0 this season when he registers a point, and 20-2-2 since the start of 2008-09 when he scores a goal… Jason Arnott has 11 of his 14 goals this season on home ice, and Sullivan has assisted on nine of them.