TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. DETROIT
Nashville and Detroit renew their Central Division rivalry tonight at Joe Louis Arena, the first of six times the teams will clash in 2010-11. The Wings do not visit Bridgestone Arena for the first time this season until Feb. 6, 2011. A season ago, the Predators took six of a possible 12 points out of their season series with the Red Wings, going 2-2-2. Each of the last two games – and three total – needed overtime or a shootout to determine a winner. In the series finale on April 3, Ryan Suter scored the second-fastest goal from the start of overtime (16 seconds) in a 4-3 Predators victory at Joe Louis Arena, while one week prior, both Pekka Rinne (38 saves) and Jimmy Howard (33 saves) recorded shutouts in a franchise-record 11-round shootout which saw Detroit win 1-0 at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville is 9-19-7 all-time in the Motor City, but eight of those wins have come in the last six campaigns – it went 1-10-3 at The Joe from 1998-99 to 2002-03, but has posted an 8-9-4 record since the 2003-04 campaign.
Another dramatic reversal in a series trend occurred last season when Nashville nearly equaled Detroit’s six-game shot totals, putting 187 shots on goal to the Wings’ total of 190. In the first 10 seasons and 63 games between the teams, Detroit outshot Nashville 2,218-1,650, or an average of 35-26 per game. The Predators outshot Detroit by a 35-29 margin on Dec. 12, 2009 and set a franchise record for shots in a road game with 48 on Jan. 29, 2010 (Detroit posted 29 shots).
A season ago, J-P Dumont (2g-2a, 6gp) and Joel Ward (1g-3a, 4gp) tied for the team lead in points against Detroit with four apiece. Dumont has more career points (9g-21a-30pts, 38gp) and more points as a Predator (6g-17a-23pts, 28gp) against the Red Wings than any other team. Ward has nine points (5g-4a) in 10 games vs. Detroit as a Predator… Steve Sullivan has more career assists against Detroit (29) than any other team. In 22 games as a Predator vs. Detroit, he’s posted 20 points (6g-14a)… Pekka Rinne posted a 2-0-2 record with a 1.71 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage against the Wings in 2009-10. For his career, Rinne is 5-1-2 with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage.
PREDATORS RECALL AHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK LINUS KLASEN
On Friday, the Predators announced the recall of forward Linus Klasen (LIH-nuhs KLAH-sehn) from Milwaukee (AHL). Klasen, 24 (2/19/86), leads the American League in goals (7) and ranks among the league leaders in points (10) through seven games for the Admirals. The 5-8, 178-pound winger was named Reebok/AHL Player of the Week on Monday in just his second full week as a North American pro after amassing six points (3g-3a) in three games. Signed as a free agent on April 20, 2010, the Stockholm, Sweden native spent the last three seasons with Sodertalje of the Swedish Elitserien, tying for fifth in points (19g-32a-51pts) a season ago.
NASHVILLE GOOD IN THE CLOSE ONES
Nashville has earned at least a point in 23 consecutive one-goal games dating back to Feb. 9, 2010 at N.Y. Islanders (18-0-5). Seven of Nashville’s nine contests in 2010-11 have been decided by one goal, with the two exceptions being Thursday vs. St. Louis (0-3) and opening night vs. Anaheim (4-1, Oct. 9). The Predators 13 points through nine contests (5-1-3) is the second-highest total in franchise history, behind only an 8-0-1 start by the 2005-06 squad.
The Predators have won each of their first three road games this season, building on last season’s success away from Bridgestone Arena. In 2009-10, Nashville posted a 23-15-3 (49 points) record, tying a franchise record and ranking fourth in the League in road wins. The Predators also won three straight road games to start the 2005-06 season, but have never won four straight away from home to start a season… Nashville is 4-1-1 against the Western Conference, and have won two-of-three games against the Central Division… Tonight starts kicks off a five-game road trip that will also take the Preds to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim and St. Louis. Nine of Nashville’s next 10 games are on the road, and it only plays at Bridgestone Arena twice between Oct. 23 and Nov. 23… The Predators are outscoring the opposition 15-12 at full and even strength, giving them the fourth-best five-on-five goals for/against ratio in the NHL (1.38)… The Predators have outscored the opposition 9-4 in the first period, allowing just one opening-frame marker in the last six contests. Nashville has allowed the League’s third-lowest goal totals in both the first (4) and second (5) periods… Shea Weber is ranked among the Top 10 NHL blueliners in both hits (fifth, 27) and average ice time (ninth, 25:33). Nashville’s captain is also 13th in the NHL in blocked shots (23)… Francis Bouillon leads the team and ranks fourth among NHL d-men in hits (29)… Jerred Smithson is ranked second in the NHL in face-off efficiency (64.9 percent).
Not only is the goaltending tandem of 6-foot-5 Pekka Rinne and 6-foot-6 Anders Lindback the tallest netminding duo in NHL history, but they have allowed just 20 goals through nine games, helping Nashville to the third-best team goals-against average in the League (2.22). Rinne, who turns 28 on Wednesday, has posted a 1.88 goals-against average and .946 save percentage this season, ranking among the Top Five in the League in both categories. Since the 2010 Olympic Break, the Kempele, Finland native has gone 14-5-4 with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. Lindback, meanwhile, has posted a 3-0-1 record and a .925 save percentage in his first month as an NHLer.
SUCCESS STARTS AT THE TOP
Nashville’s 5-1-3 start has helped head coach Barry Trotz continue to edge closer to fifth all-time in NHL history in both games coached and wins with a single franchise. Sitting at 911 games behind the Nashville bench, Trotz is just three contests away from tying legendary Montreal bench boss Toe Blake for fifth on the games coached list – something he is slated to attain Saturday, Nov. 6 at Los Angeles. Jack Adams sits fourth on the list with 964 games coached with Detroit (1927-47). With 416 victories, the Dauphin, Man., native is also just three victories shy of fifth on the wins with one team list, with Scotty Bowman’s tenure with Montreal in his sights (419, 1971-79).
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile, meanwhile, ranks third all-time in both wins (1,010) and games (2,091) by a general manager. Harry Sinden (1,146) ranks first on the wins list, followed by Glen Sather (1,100), while Sather is first on the games list (2,324) with Sinden (2,152) second.
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE
Predators forward J-P Dumont and his wife Kristin welcomed their fourth daughter into the world on Monday. Mya Dumont weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne will have one of his sweaters taken into space on Monday when NASA mission STS-133 blasts off from Launch Pad 39A in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Each member of the mission can take one personal memento into space with them, and Colonel Tim Kopra, a Finnish-American Predators fan, has selected a Rinne jersey. The full story can be found here http://exm.nr/9Fu1Ph.