TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. N.Y. RANGERS
The Nashville Predators visit Broadway for the first time since Oct. 18, 2006 tonight, the 14th all-time meeting between the Predators and Rangers. These two teams have only met once over the past two seasons – on March 12, 2009 at the Sommet Center – a game the Rangers won 4-2. Shea Weber scored Nashville’s first goal that night, his 18th of the season, tying the franchise record for goals by a defenseman in a season. At Madison Square Garden, the Predators are unbeaten in five games (4-0-(1)-0) dating back to Dec. 23, 2000. Nashville’s last visit to the venue saw Tomas Vokoun turn aside all 38 shots he faced in a 3-0 victory. The two games prior to the shutout victory (March 25, 2004 and Jan. 23, 2003) saw the Predators win by 4-2 decisions, giving them a 4-2-(1)-0 record all-time at MSG.
All-time series highlight: On Dec. 23, 2000 at Madison Square Garden, the Predators made history in a 3-2 victory. Trailing 2-1 with Marian Cisar in the box for tripping, Scott Walker scored a shorthanded goal with just 1:43 left in regulation to force overtime. Then 3:17 into the extra session, David Legwand was hauled down and awarded the third penalty shot in franchise history. He beat goaltender Kirk McLean with a backhander for what was the first overtime penalty shot goal in National Hockey League history.
The Predators are 1-3-1 all-time in games played on February 10. The team was defeated 2-1 in overtime in 2000 by Buffalo and 3-2 in regulation at Columbus in 2001. The last three Feb. 10ths the Preds have alternated results, dropping a 4-1 decision to LA in '07, winning a 6-3 game at Phoenix in '08, and falling 5-3 to Detroit in '09.
Steve Sullivan has seven assists in five games against N.Y. Rangers as a Predator, and 19 points (3g-16a) in 21 career games against the club… Jason Arnott has 27 points (15g-12a) in 32 career games against Rangers, most of which came with the rival New Jersey Devils from 1998-2002… J.P. Dumont has 13 goals (and 17 points) in 23 career games against the Blueshirts. That total is tied with his goal total against Carolina as the most against a single team in the NHL.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Rangers
Jason Arnott – Career-high 27 penalty minutes on March 31, 2001 (with New Jersey).
J.P. Dumont – First career hat trick (three total) and a career-high nine shots on goal on April 8, 1999 (with Chicago). David Legwand – First career penalty shot on Dec. 23, 2000 against goalie Kirk McLean (goal). TEAM QUICK HITS
Nashville is 6-4-0 this season in the second game of back-to-backs… The Predators are 7-3-2 against the Eastern Conference this season. Tonight it their third game against an Atlantic Division foe – they topped New Jersey in a shootout (3-2) on Nov. 19 prior to falling in a shootout (4-3) last night on Long Island… In its last 19 road games dating back to Nov. 12, it has gone 11-6-2, giving the club a 15-11-2 mark away from Nashville this season – that win total is just one shy of last season’s road victory total, and three victories away from the second-highest mark (18), attained two seasons ago and in 2000-01. The franchise record is 23 road wins attained in 2006-07. The Predators have scored 68 even-strength goals on the road, second only to Washington, and are averaging 2.86 goals per game in road contests, the fourth-highest mark in the league. Also, the club is plus-13 in non-power play goals on the road, the third-best mark in the League… Nashville has outshot the opposition in eight of the last 10 games, amassing a plus-86 shot differential in that span (total: 339-253)… With 67 points (31-22-5), the club is four wins/10 points ahead of last season’s 58-game pace (57 points, 27-28-3). The last time Nashville made the playoffs in 2007-08, it was 30-22-6 through 58 games… The Predators have eight second-period goals in the last three games, equaling their middle-frame output from the previous 14 outings… Since the start of February, the Predators have scored five of their 11 goals on the power play. In the previous eight games from Jan. 12-30, the club scored 19 of its 20 goals at even strength… The Predators are 27-16-3 in games decided by two goals or less – that’s tied for second in the NHL in wins in that situation … The Predators are 17-1-0 when leading after one period, and 20-4-1 when scoring first – both are also tied for second in the League… The Predators have posted an 18-5-2 record when recording a power-play goal. PLAYER QUICK HITS
The Predators have nine players with 10-or-more goals – only Washington (10) has more… Martin Erat has assists in back-to-back games, and 26 points (14g-12a) in his last 28 games played dating back to the beginning of December… Cal O’Reilly has four points (1g-3a) in the last two games, topping his point total (3a) from his first 18 appearances of 2009-10… Since returning from a three-game absence due to injury from Jan. 22-29, Joel Ward has five points (4g-1a) in five games, including goals in three straight contests, tying a career high hit twice before (last: March 16-19, 2009). The Predators have earned a point in 20 of the 21 games in which Ward has recorded a point this season, going 19-1-1, and the club is 20-3-3 since the start of 2008-09 when he scores a goal… Patric Hornqvist has 17 goals and 25 points in the team’s last 26 games dating back to Dec. 14. Hornqvist’s goal total is tied for fourth since that date behind the NHL’s top three in goals – Alexander Ovechkin (21), Sidney Crosby (19) and Patrick Marleau (18). Hornqvist has the fewest games of NHL experience, and at 15:21 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 15 power-play goals since Dec. 8, tied with Nicklas Backstrom and Eric Staal for the NHL’s highest man-advantage goal total since that date… Shea Weber is tops among NHL defensemen in road goals, with eight of his 10 tallies coming away from home. He has 15 points (4g-11a) in his last 19 games, and is tied for fifth among NHL defensemen in power-play goals (5), tied for sixth in goals (10), and tied for 11th at the position in points (33). His 165 shots on goal are second among NHL blueliners to only Zdeno Chara… Predators defenseman Kevin Klein is averaging 20:14 this season – a more than seven minute increase over last season’s average of 12:39. Among skaters who played more than 60 games last season and have played more than 25 games this season, he’s the only one with an increase of at least 5:00 per game… Marcel Goc has eight of his 10 goals, and 15 of his 19 points, on the road… Ryan Suter is tied for fourth in plus/minus rating among defensemen since the start of December (+15).