TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. SAN JOSE
Nashville kicks off its second and final tour of the West Coast tonight in Silicon Valley, the last of four games between the Sharks and Predators in 2009-10. Each of the first three games this season have ended in 4-3 scores, with two going in San Jose’s favor, and eight of the last nine meetings between the clubs going back to Feb. 9, 2008 have been decided by a single goal. In the most recent clash of the Sharks and Preds on Feb. 6 at the Bridgestone Arena, San Jose prevailed despite being outshot 38-29. It was also one of just four times this season the Predators have scored the game’s first goal and dropped the decision in regulation. Nashville’s 2009-10 victory over the West’s top team came Nov. 17 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 five 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. 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.
J.P. Dumont scored both of Nashville’s goals on Feb. 6, doubling his goal total against the Sharks since joining the Predators for the 2006-07 season (14 games)… Ward scored Nashville’s third goal in the most recent matchup, giving him a team-best four points (2g-2a) against San Jose this season, and five points (3g-2a) in six career games against the Sharks… Ryan Suter has three helpers in three games vs. S.J. in 2009-10, giving him five points (1g-4a) in his last seven games against the club… The Sharks are one of three teams Jason Arnott has 50-or-more points against, with Phoenix (53) and Los Angeles being the others. Nashville’s captain has 50 points (26g-24a) in 53 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. He put nine shots on net on Feb. 6, his highest total since March 22, 2008 vs. Chicago… For his career, Steve Sullivan has 27 points (10g-17a) in 35 career games against the Sharks… Nashville rookie Cal O’Reilly notched his first career three-point/assist performance the last time these teams met.
The Preds are 0-1-2 with one time in four all-time in games played on March 11. Three of the four games have gone to overtime and all four have been determined by one goal or less; two of those four have come against tonight's opponent, San Jose ('06 a 3-2 OT loss and '08 a 2-1 regulation loss). Nashville dropped an OT decision to Anaheim in 2001 (1-0) and tied St. Louis in 2004 (1-1).
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.
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). Marcel Goc – First goal as a Predator on Nov. 10, 2009. 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.
EIGHTEEN ROAD WINS
The Predators won their 18th road game of 2009-10 in their 34th game away from Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday at Atlanta, tying the second-highest road win total in franchise history. Nashville also claimed 18 victories away from home in 2007-08 and 2000-01, and the club record is 23 road wins in 2006-07. Prior to Wednesday’s games, Nashville’s 2009-10 road win total was also tied for fifth-highest in the NHL.
TROTZ WINS HIS 400TH GAME
Nashville’s 2-1 victory on Tuesday was the 400th win of head coach Barry Trotz’s career, all of which have come with the Predators franchise, just the seventh time in NHL history a coach has won 400 games with a single team. The other five bench bosses are who have attained the feat are Al Arbour (739, N.Y. Islanders), Lindy Ruff (473 prior to Wednesday’s game, Buffalo), Glen Sather (464, Edmonton), Dick Irvin (431, Montreal) and Scotty Bowman twice (419, Montreal and 410, Detroit).
Trotz also sits seventh on the games coached with one team list (886), and is just 10 contests behind the Predators bench away from tying Irvin (896, Montreal) for sixth place – something he’s scheduled to do on March 27 vs. Detroit. TEAM QUICK HITS
The next two nights, Nashville will play its 13th of 15 sets of back-to-backs in 2009-10. It is 5-6-1 on the front end, and 7-5-0 in the second game thus far… Tonight is the sixth of 17 games for Nashville during March – that is tied with Atlanta for the most this month… Since the start of February (11 games), the Predators have scored 12 of their 34 goals on the power play (35.3 percent). In the previous eight games from Jan. 12-30, the club scored 19 of its 20 goals at even strength (5 percent of production on the power play)… Nashville is 23-7-2 when scoring on the power play as opposed to 13-20-3 when not registering a man-advantage goal… Nashville is third in the league in even-strength road goals (75), and tied for fifth with tonight’s opponent in goals on the road (94)… It is also a plus-9 in non-power-play goals scored away from home, fourth-best in the League… The Predators are 32-17-3 in games decided by two goals or less – the most wins in the NHL in that situation… The Predators are a 20-1-0 when leading after one period, tied for first in the League… Nashville has been shorthanded 219 times this season (average of 3.32 per game), fifth-fewest in the League. It is averaging the fewest penalty minutes per game in the League (9.1). PLAYER QUICK HITS Martin Erat claimed sole possession of second on the franchise’s all-time assist list (223) with a helper on Ryan Suter’s power-play goal on Tuesday, passing defenseman Kimmo Timonen. Erat – who leads the team with 41 points – has six points (1g-5a) in his last six games, and 32 points (15g-17a) in 36 games played since Dec. 2 after posting nine points (4g-5a) in his first 23 games of 2009-10… Suter’s power-play goal on Tuesday was his first since scoring a pair on Oct. 22 at Ottawa, a span of 57 games. Suter has points (1g-3a) in four-of-five games since returning from a silver-medal winning performance at the 2010 Olympics, matching his output from his last 15 games before the Games (4a)… Jason Arnott has points (3g-2a) in five of Nashville’s last six games, and 10 points (4g-6a) in his last 11 outings. Fourteen of Arnott’s 17 goals this season have come on home ice, including eight straight dating back to Dec. 5. Additionally, each of the Nashville captain’s last two goals have been on the power-play after scoring eight straight at even strength between Dec. 2 and March 2… Colin Wilson’s points during his first NHL season have come in pairs – he scored his first career goal and notched his first career assist on back-to-back nights Oct. 21-22, then duplicated the feat Feb. 10-12 to double his point total. Wilson has done it again in Nashville’s last two games, notching an assist on Sunday and a goal on Tuesday. Two of the seventh overall pick in the 2008 Entry Draft’s last three goals have been unassisted game winners… In the last 14 games since Jan. 29, Dan Hamhuis has doubled his season assist output with eight helpers in that span after registering eight assists in his first 47 games of 2009-10. Hamhuis has assists in four of Nashville’s last five games (4a), and in six of his last nine outings (6a)… Marcel Goc has 16 points (8g-8a) in his last 19 road games, and 17 (8g-9a) of his 22 points this season have come on the road. A season ago, he posted five points (1g-4a) in 27 road games for San Jose. Goc has also scored eight of his career-high 11 goals on the road.