TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. CALGARY
Nashville and Calgary clash in the first of four 2010-11 meetings tonight at Bridgestone Arena with the Predators search for the first home win in the series since Jan. 15, 2008. Last season’s Predators-Flames series saw the road team win all four contests, with Nashville’s wins coming within a month of each other on Dec. 19, 2009 and Jan. 15, 2010. The win six days before Christmas saw Marcel Goc register his first career three-point game (1g-2a), and Martin Erat post an identical stat line in a 5-3 win. It marked the first time in franchise history the Predators had scored five-or-more goals in four consecutive games and was the final game of a 6-0-1 run for the team. The Preds won by defense in their second trip through Alberta, receiving a 22-save shutout from Dan Ellis and a Patric Hornqvist goal with just 6:22 left in regulation in a 1-0 win. That win was the Predators fifth road victory in a row, tied for the second longest in franchise history. On home ice, Nashville is 13-9-(1)-0 against Calgary, and will look to return to rekindle the success that saw it go 10-1-(1)-0 in the series from Nov. 28, 2000 to March 8, 2007.
Since joining the Predators prior to the 2006-07 campaign, J-P Dumont has 14 points (5g-9a) in 16 games against the Flames… Erat has 22 points (6g-16a) in 26 career games vs. Calgary, just one point shy of his highest career point total against a non-Central Division team (L.A., 23)… Hornqvist has four points (2g-2a) in five career contests against Calgary.
Matthew Lombardi began his career with the Flames after being drafted by them 90th overall (third round) of the 2002 Entry Draft. After a season with the club’s AHL affiliate in Saint John’s in 2002-03, Lombardi amassed 167 points (65g-102a) and 225 penalty minutes in 347 games from 2003-09. The Hudson, Que., native notched six points (1g-5a) in 13 playoff games during Calgary’s run to Game Seven of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals (missing the last 13 games due to injury) and posting a career-high 20 goals in 2006-07. He was traded to Phoenix along with Brandon Prust and a first-round selection in the 2010 Entry Draft (Brandon Gormley) for Olli Jokinen and a third-round selection in the 2009 Entry Draft (traded to Florida, Florida selected Josh Birkholz) on March 4, 2009, ending his tenure in Alberta… Predator winger Wade Belak spent parts of three seasons with Calgary from 1999-2001, amassing 222 penalty minutes and three assists in 71 games. He was acquired by the Flames, along with Robyn Regehr, in the deal that sent Theo Fleury to Colorado on Feb. 28, 1999.
DUMONT MAKES IT FOUR-FOR-FOUR J-P Dumont scored his first goal of the season on Saturday vs. Washington, extending his season-opening point streak to four games (1g-3a). While the Montreal, Que., native has traditionally been a fast starter, this marks the first time in his 12-season career that he’s put up points in the first four contests. A season ago, Dumont had two points (1g-1a) through four games before tying a franchise record with five points (1g-4a) in a 6-5 overtime win at Ottawa in game No. 5. Dumont posted four assists in his first three games of the 2008-09 season before being held scoreless in Nashville’s fourth game. He would reel off a seven-game point streak (2g-7a) in games 5-11.
WELCOME TO THE NHL ANDERS LINDBACK
Ten days ago, 22-year-old rookie goaltender Anders Lindback had never appeared in an NHL game, but that changed in Nashville’s season-opening win last Saturday when he stopped 7-of-7 shots in just over 17 minutes of relief work against Anaheim. The Gavle, Sweden native made his first three career starts last week, going 2-0-1 with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. He stopped 23-of-25 shots in his NHL debut at United Center in Chicago on Wednesday, then beat St. Louis in his first home start 24 hours later, stopping 32-of-35 shots. He helped Nashville extend its season-opening point streak to four games on Saturday night by turning aside 31-of-34 shots in an overtime loss to the 2010 President’s Trophy champion Washington Capitals. He is the first goaltender to make and win his first career NHL start on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champion, since Nov. 1, 1985 when Buffalo’s Daren Puppa beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-0.
The 2010-11 Predators are off to the second-best start in franchise history (3-0-1, 7 points). The 2005-06 team opened with eight consecutive victories and points in nine straight. Nashville has won three of the season’s first four games on two other occasions (2003-04 and 2000-01) but the losses those seasons came in regulation time… The Preds have doubled-up the opposition while five-on-five this season, outscoring them 8-4. That ratio of goals for/against at even and full strength is good for fourth in the NHL (2.0). The four five-on-five goals allowed is tied for second-fewest in the NHL… Nashville is also fourth in the League in team face-off efficiency (54 percent) and shots per game (34.2) in addition to being tied for eighth in power-play efficiency (21 percent)… Five Predators have posted points in three of the season’s first four games – Colin Wilson (1g-2a) has an active three-game streak, tying a career high. Steve Sullivan (4g-1a), Ryan Suter (3a) and Marcel Goc (2g-1a) had points in three straight to start the season, while David Legwand (1g-2a) is also on the list.
The Predators recalled forward Nick Spaling on Monday after the 22-year-old forward was one of the final cuts of 2010 Training Camp. Spaling has posted two points (1g-1a) through four games with the Admirals this season. In his rookie NHL campaign of 2009-10, the Palmerston, Ont., native put up three assists in 28 games for the Predators. He posted a plus or even rating in 26 of those contests and ranked fifth among rookie forwards in average shorthanded ice time (1:43). Nashville’s third choice, 58th overall (second round) in the 2007 Entry Draft also dressed for all six of the club’s 2010 Stanley Cup Playoff contests.