STORYLINES VS. CHICAGO
Nashville draws Central Division foe Chicago for their fifth all-time trip to the postseason after playing both Detroit and San Jose twice each in its first four trips to the second season. The Predators posted a 2-4-0 record against the Blackhawks in 2009-10, claiming one game at both Bridgestone Arena (Oct. 29) and the United Center (Dec. 4). Four of the six games the teams played this season were determined by either one or two goals, with the exception being a pair of 4-1 decisions – Nashville’s win on Dec. 4 and Chicago’s victory on Boxing Day. The teams also exchanged identical 2-0 victories in a six-day span on Oct. 24 (Chicago win, Huet – 27 saves) and Oct. 29 (Nashville win, Rinne – 22 saves). The teams have played each other 69 times since the Predators inception in 1998-99, with Nashville posting a 31-31-(4)-3 record. Seventeen of those wins have come on home ice, where Nashville is 10-5-2 in the past five seasons against Chicago. Nashville has held Chicago to three goals or fewer in 11 of the last 14 meetings dating back to March 22, 2008. In that span, Nashville goaltenders Dan Ellis, Chris Mason and Pekka Rinne have posted a 2.28 save percentage and a .926 save percentage.
Martin Erat led the team in both goals (4) and points (5) against Chicago this season. He has 10 points (5g-5a) in his last eight games against Chicago… Dan Hamhuis scored two of his five goals this season against Chicago. He has 19 career points (4g-15a) and 68 penalty minutes in 41 games against Chicago, his highest totals against any team… David Legwand has picked up more goals (18), assists (27) and points (45) against Chicago, than any other player in franchise history against any other team… Jordin Tootoo posted his lone multi-point game of 2009-10 in the Dec. 4 victory (1g-1a)… As a Predator, Steve Sullivan has 23 points (7g-16a) in 26 games against the team that traded him to Nashville on Feb. 16, 2004 in exchange for second-round picks in the 2004 (Ryan Garlock) and 2005 (Michael Blunden) Entry Drafts. On Jan. 10, 2009, after nearly two years on the sidelines with a back injury, Sullivan returned to the Predators lineup against the Blackhawks and played 41 of the club’s final 42 games. The comeback earned him the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which goes “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey,” making him the first player in franchise history to win an NHL award … J.P. Dumont started his career as a Blackhawk, posting 33 points (19g-14a) in 72 games from 1998-2000, before being traded to Buffalo (with Doug Gilmour) for Michael Grosek on March 10, 2000. He has 23 points (6g-17a) in 33 career games against Chicago.
All-time series highlights: The Predators have recorded 16 hat tricks in club history, with four of them –the first, third, ninth and 12th – coming against the Blackhawks. On Nov. 10, 1999, Rob Valicevic potted the first three-goal game in club history with a natural hat trick in a span of 11:12 of the first period in a 4-2 victory. On Dec. 15, 2001, Petr Tenkrat notched another natural hat trick with a trio of goals at 13:44 and 14:11 of the second period, and 7:39 of the third. Scott Hartnell put up three goals in a 6-0 rout of the Hawks on Feb. 4, 2006, and David Legwand notched his first career three-goal game on Jan. 20, 2007.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Blackhawks Jason Arnott – First game as a Predator on Oct. 5, 2006. First goal as a Predator on Oct. 12, 2006 on Nikolai Khabibulin. J.P. Dumont – First game and goal (on Khabibulin) as a Predator on Oct. 5, 2006. David Legwand – Most points (3g-1a) in a game and first career hat trick on Jan. 20, 2007. Kevin Klein – First NHL goal on Jan. 26, 2007 against Khabibulin. Pekka Rinne – First NHL game and win on Dec. 15, 2005. Ryan Suter – First NHL goal on Dec. 21, 2005 against Khabibulin.
PLAYOFF QUICK HITS
Since 1994, the No. 7 seed has defeated the No. 2 seed 46.3 percent of the time (14-of-30)… The Predators have the fewest man games of NHL playoffs experience of anyone in this year’s postseason (396)… Nashville’s lone Game One victory came in 2006 vs. San Jose… Dan Hamhuis is the only player to dress for all 22 of the club’s playoff games… Shea Weber (3g-6a) is currently tied with Paul Kariya (2g-7a) for first on the team’s all-time postseason points list. J.P. Dumont (4g-4a) and Martin Erat (2g-6a) are one point back… Dumont is one goal shy of all-time leader Alexander Radulov (5)… Dustin Boyd is the only member of the Predators to have faced the Blackhawks in the postseason before. He scored a goal in Calgary’s five-game loss to Chicago in last season’s Western Conference Quarterfinals… Jason Arnott has 64 points (28g-36a) in 100 career playoff games. The rest of Nashville’s roster has 96 points (28g-36a) in 296 combined postseason games… Pekka Rinne is expected to be Nashville’s starting goaltender, the fourth goalie in five playoff appearances. Only Tomas Vokoun (2004 and 2007) has appeared in more than one playoff series, while Chris Mason (2006) and Dan Ellis (2008) backstopped the Preds in one series each. Nine Nashville Predators – Cody Franson, Denis Grebeshkov, Patric Hornqvist, Kevin Klein, Cal O’Reilly, Rinne, Nick Spaling, Joel Ward and Colin Wilson – have yet to appear in an NHL playoff game.