TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. ANAHEIM
The Predators make their second trip to the Honda Center tonight to wrap up the 2009-10 season series between Nashville and Anaheim. The Ducks have claimed two of the previous three matchups, including the last meeting – a 3-2 decision on Jan. 9 at the Bridgestone Arena, and in the Predators last trip to Southern California – a 4-0 nod on Nov. 5 behind three third-period goals. Nashville’s victory came just seven days prior to the last meeting, on Jan. 2 in the Music City in a tilt that saw the home team give up the first goal of the game, then rally to a 3-1 victory. Shea Weber notched a goal and an assist, and Jason Arnott potted his first game winner of the season – and 100th goal as a Predator – as part of a three-point effort (1g-2a) in the win. Pekka Rinne stopped 25-of-26 shots. Nashville has outshot Anaheim in all three games, racking up plus-25 shot differential in that span (110-78). The home team has fared particularly well in the past four-plus seasons when these teams have met, winning 14-of-19 meetings since the start of 2005-06. All but one of the last eight games between the Predators and Ducks have been decided by two goals or less, with three-of-four meetings in 2008-09 going to overtime/a shootout.
All-time series highlight: On Nov. 21, 2003 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, the 1,000th tally in Nashville Predators’ history couldn’t have come at a better time. After Greg Johnson scored No. 999 with just 3:58 left in regulation to send the game to sudden-decision overtime, Scott Hartnell beat Anaheim’s J.S. Giguere to dramatically make goal No. 1,000 a game-winner. Rem Murray and then-rookie blueliner Dan Hamhuis set up Hartnell’s sixth goal of the season. The Predators reached the 1,000-goal mark in their 428th game. The 2003-04 season marked the first in which Nashville scored more than 200 goals (216) in a season, and it also marked the team’s first trip to the post-season.
The Preds are 2-2-0 with one tie in five all-time games played on March 12. Nashville pulled out a 5-3 win over Chicago in 1999 and a 4-3 win over Edmonton in 2000 before being shutout by Vancouver 5-0 in 2002. On March 12, 2003 the Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins skated to a 2-2 draw. Last year the Preds dropped a 4-2 decision to the NY Rangers.
Weber has seven points (2g-5a) in his last six games against Anaheim dating back to the start of the 2008-09 season. He tied a career high/franchise record for most shots by a defenseman with 10 on Jan. 2… Arnott did not play in the most recent Preds-Ducks game, but has eight points (3g-5a) in six games against Anaheim since the start of the 2008 calendar year. He has a team-high three points (1g-2a) in two games against the Ducks this season, and 11 points (4g-7a) in 10 games against them as a Predator… Ryan Suter has five assists in his last seven games against Anaheim… Joel Ward has four points in six career games against Anaheim (3g-1a)… As a Predator, Steve Sullivan has 13 points (4g-9a) in 15 games against the Ducks… Patric Hornqvist has put 17 shots on goal in three games against Anaheim this season, including a career-high 10 shots in his last trip to the Honda Center.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Ducks Martin Erat – Career-high eight penalty minutes on Jan. 17, 2008.
Dan Hamhuis – Played his first NHL game on Oct. 9, 2003.
Dave Scatchard – Played his first NHL game on Oct. 3, 1997 (with Vancouver). Ryan Suter – Career-high three assists on March 18, 2009. Jordin Tootoo – Played his first NHL game on Oct. 9, 2003. Shea Weber – Career-high 15 penalty minutes on Feb. 3, 2007.
DUMONT HITS 500 CLUB
J.P. Dumont scored twice last night at San Jose, giving him four goals in his last five games. His second goal of last night’s tilt was his 500th career NHL point. The Montreal, Quebec native has 202 goals and 298 assists in 737 career games with Chicago, Buffalo and Nashville.
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. Nashville’s 2009-10 road win total is 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 (474, 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 (887), and is just nine 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
Tonight’s game concludes the 13th of 15 sets of back-to-back games in 2009-10. It is 5-7-1 on the front end, and 7-5-0 in the second game thus far… Tonight is the seventh of 17 games for Nashville during March – that is tied with Atlanta for the most this month… Since the start of February (12 games), the Predators have scored 14 of their 39 goals on the power play (35.8 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 23-8-2 when scoring on the power play as opposed to 13-20-3 when not registering a man-advantage goal… The Predators are 32-17-3 in games decided by two goals or less – the most wins in the NHL in that situation… Nashville has been shorthanded 222 times this season (average of 3.26 per game), fifth-fewest in the League. It is averaging the fewest penalty minutes per game in the League (9.0). 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 42 points – has seven points (1g-5a) in his last seven games, and 33 points (15g-18a) in 37 games played since Dec. 2 after posting nine points (4g-5a) in his first 23 games of 2009-10… Patrick Hornqvist posted his fifth two-goal game performance of the season last night… Shea Weber, who returned to the lineup last night after missing the previous two games with an upper body injury, notched his 100th career assist… Cody Franson had two assists last night, giving him 14 of his 18 points on the road this season… Colin Wilson recorded the first multi-point game of his career (1g-1a) in San Jose and is on a career high three-game point streak (2g-2a-4pts). He has a goal in each of his last two games.