TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. LOS ANGELES
The Nashville Predators will look to continue their recent success at the Staples Center tonight against the Kings, the first of four games the teams will play in 2010-11. Dating back to Jan. 8, 2008, Nashville has won five consecutive contests in Tinsel Town, helping make Los Angeles the only team it has a winning record against on the road (12-7-(0)-3) but a losing record against at home (8-11-(3)-0). Going back a bit further, the Preds have swept the team’s two games in L.A. three of the past four campaigns, going 7-1-0. While the first two games of the stretch were decided by three-or-more goals (6-3 on March 3, 2007 and 7-0 on Dec. 22, 2007), the last four Predators-Kings games at the Staples Center have been decided by two goals or fewer, including a pair of one-goal games.
A season ago, Nashville claimed the first three games of the four-game set, the last of which came on March 14, 2010 when it rallied from a 2-1 deficit late in the third to claim a 3-2 decision. Patric Hornqvist capped the scoring at 16:29 of the final frame, the second-latest regulation game winner the team scored all season. Martin Erat led all Predators in scoring against Los Angeles in 2009-10 with five assists in four games, continuing a trend that has seen him post 14 points (2g-12a) in his last 10 games vs. the Kings, including a career-high four assists in a 4-3 overtime win on March 28, 2009.
All-time series highlight: The Predators unleashed an offensive assault in their visit to Los Angeles on Jan. 8, 2008, scoring the fastest three goals in franchise history in a span of 75 seconds during the first period en route to a 7-0 victory. David Legwand led all skaters with three points (1g-2a) – including the second goal of the three-goal first-period outburst – and five other Predators notched a pair of points, including current Predators Director of Player Development Martin Gelinas (2a), J-P Dumont (1g-1a) and Erat (1g-1a). Chris Mason made 28 saves to record the shutout. It was the second time in a span of six games between the teams that Nashville won by a 7-0 score. It also did so on Dec. 23, 2006.
Dumont has 17 points (8g-9a) in 15 games against L.A. as a Predator, and 22 points (11g-11a) in 24 career games against the Kings – his highest point percentage against any team… Erat has 23 points (4g-19a) in 29 career games against the Kings… Since joining the Predators, Steve Sullivan has 12 points (4g-8a) in 12 games against Los Angeles… Joel Ward has six points (3g-3a) in eight games vs. the Kings in his career… Pekka Rinne has a 4-1-0 career record against L.A.
Nashville is 4-3-1 against the Western Conference, including a 2-1-0 mark vs. the Pacific Division… The Predators are a perfect 2-0-0 on both the front-end and back-end of back-to-backs this season. The team plays a total of 13 two-game-in-two-day sets this season, with the next after this weekend coming the two days following American Thanksgiving (Nov. 26, 1 p.m. at Minnesota, Nov. 27, 7 p.m. vs. N.Y. Rangers)… Nashville is 3-1-1 in weekend games thus far, posting a 2-1-1 mark on Saturday and a 1-0-0 mark on Sunday… Tonight is part three of a five-game road trip that has seen the Predators stop in Detroit and Phoenix. They’ll play tomorrow at the Honda Center in Anaheim and wrap up the trip on Wednesday at St. Louis. Nine of Nashville’s 10 games from Oct. 30-Nov. 22 are on the road, and it only plays at Bridgestone Arena twice between Oct. 23 and Nov. 23… The Predators are tied for sixth (prior to Friday’s games) in five-on-five goals allowed (17)… With an assist on Thursday, Kevin Klein has points in back-to-back games for the third time in his career (1g-1a), and first since Oct. 29-31, 2009. He’s never registered points in three straight contests… Cal O’Reilly notched an assist for the second straight game at Phoenix, giving him helpers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. O’Reilly now leads the team in both points and assists (1g-7a-8pts)… Shea Weber is ranked among the Top 10 NHL blueliners in both hits (tied for sixth, 33) and average ice time (10th, 25:23)… Jerred Smithson is ranked fourth in the NHL in face-off efficiency (61.3 percent)…
TOOTOO SHOWS OFFENSIVE SIDE Jordin Tootoo assisted on two of Nashville’s three goals on Thursday at Phoenix, his third career multi-assist performance (first since Dec. 30, 2006 at Boston) and ninth career multi-point outing (1g-1a, Dec. 4, 2009 at Chicago). Despite missing last Saturday’s game due to injury, the Rankin Inlet, Nunavut native is tied for second on the team in assists and tied for third in points (1g-5a-6pts). The start is the fastest of his seven-season career, as he did not register point No. 1 until Nov. 10 at San Jose a season ago (assist). In 2007-08, when Tootoo posted a career-high 18 points (11g-7a), he did not reach the six-point mark until game No. 16.
TROTZ POISED TO TIE LEGENDARY COACH TOE BLAKE
MOST GAMES COACHED, 1 TEAM
1,499 - Al Arbour (NY Islanders)
1,012 - Billy Reay (Chicago) 987 - Lindy Ruff (Buffalo) **
964 - Jack Adams (Detroit)
914 - Toe Blake (Montreal) 913 - Barry Trotz (Nashville) ** ** still active; denotes totals as of Nov. 4, 2010
Nashville Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz, the only coach in the franchise’s 12-year existence, is set to move further up the games coached with a single franchise list tonight against Los Angeles. By spending his 914th contest behind the Predators’ bench, Trotz will tie Hall-of-Fame player and coach Toe Blake for fifth on the list. Blake coached the Montreal Canadiens to eight Stanley Cups during his 13-season tenure from 1955-68, amassing 500 wins. Al Arbour (1,499 with N.Y. Islanders) ranks first on the games coached with a single team list, while Billy Reay (1,012 with Chicago), Lindy Ruff (987 with Buffalo) and Jack Adams (964 with Detroit) round out the top four.
The Dauphin, Man., native also ranks seventh in wins with a single club, having picked up the ‘W’ 416 times in those 913 games. He is just three wins away from tying the legendary Scottie Bowman’s 419 wins with Montreal for fifth place. Arbour’s 739 wins with the Islanders tops that list, followed by Blake (500), Ruff (481), Glen Sather (464 with Edmonton) and Dick Irvin (431 with Montreal).
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile completes the impressive GM-Coach tandem in Nashville. As the only person in franchise history to hold his title, Poile has moved among the top GMs in NHL history. According to Jason Farris of nhlgms.com, Poile ranks third all-time in both wins (1,010) and games (2,093) 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.