TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. ANAHEIM
One month after beating the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 to open the 2010-11 season, the Predators pay a visit to the Honda Center in the fourth game of a five-game road trip. On Opening Night (Oct. 9), Nashville put three pucks past Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller in the second period, and one more in the third to cruise to victory. Steve Sullivan had the game-winning goal in addition to an assist, while captain Shea Weber set up a pair of goals while putting eight of Nashville’s 49 shots on goal. Pekka Rinne stopped 29-of-30 shots before giving way to rookie Anders Lindback, who turned aside all seven shots he faced in his first NHL action.
A season ago, the Predators split their two games in Orange County, using a 31-save shutout from Rinne and a power-play goal by Weber to claim a 1-0 decision in their last trip on March 14, 2010. The Preds are 2-1-1 at the Honda Center over the past two seasons after going 3-13-(1)-2 there during the franchise’s first nine seasons of play. Overall, Nashville is 5-2-2 vs. the Ducks since the start of the 2008-09 campaign.
Weber has 10 points (3g-7a) in his last 10 games against Anaheim dating back to Nov. 14, 2008… Steve Sullivan leads all Nashville skaters with 33 points (16g-17a) in 40 career games against Anaheim. Since joining the Predators, he has 15 points (5g-10a) in 17 games against the Ducks… Rinne has posted a 4-2-2 career record vs. Anaheim with a 2.05 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and a shutout… Newest Predator Shane O’Brien was drafted in the eighth round, 250th overall, by the Ducks in 2003. He spent three seasons with Anaheim’s AHL affiliates in Cincinnati and Portland before making his NHL debut with the club on Oct. 6, 2006 at Los Angeles. He posted 14 points (2g-12a) and 140 penalty minutes in 62 games with the club before being traded to Tampa Bay on Feb. 24, 2007.
All-time series highlight: On Nov. 21, 2003 at the Honda Center, in the franchise’s 428th game, Scott Hartnell provided the 1,000th goal in Predators franchise history in the most dramatic of fashions. After Greg Johnson scored No. 999 with just 3:58 left in regulation to send the game to overtime, Hartnell beat Anaheim goaltender J.S. Giguere to make goal No. 1,000 the deciding goal of a 4-3 Nashville win. Rem Murray and rookie blueliner Dan Hamhuis set up Hartnell’s sixth goal of the season.
LINDBACK PITCHES ANOTHER PERFECT RELIEF APPEARANCE
Rookie goaltender Anders Lindback made his second relief appearance – and sixth appearance overall – of the 2010-11 season last night in Los Angeles, stopping all nine shots he faced in 29:13 of action. It was his first work since stopping 42-of45 shots in a 4-3 win at Tampa Bay on Oct. 24, and the performance helped lower his goals-against average to 2.29 and raise his save percentage to .929. The Gavle, Sweden native drafted 207th overall (seventh round) in the 2008 Entry Draft has posted a 3-0-1 record, and made his starts against some the of the League’s best: the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks (win in his first career start), the Central Division-leading St. Louis Blues (win in his first home start) and the 2010 President’s Trophy-winning Washington Capitals (overtime loss).
The Predators are a perfect 2-0-0 in the second-half 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)… Tonight is part four of a five-game road trip that has seen the Predators stop in Detroit, Phoenix and Los Angeles. They’ll wrap up the trip on Wednesday at St. Louis, then host the Cup Champion Blackhawks on Saturday. Nine of Nashville’s 10 games between Oct. 30-Nov. 22 are on the road, and it only plays at Bridgestone Arena twice between Oct. 23 and Nov. 23.
TROTZ PASSES TOE BLAKE ON GAMES COACHED LIST
Nashville Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz, the only coach in the franchise’s 12-year existence, is set to take over sole possession of fifth place on the NHL’s all-time games coached with a single franchise list (915 games) tonight after tying legendary Montreal benchboss Toe Blake less than 24 hours ago at Los Angeles. 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 (999 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 914 games. He is just three wins away from tying the legendary Scottie Bowman’s 419 wins with Montreal for sixth place. Arbour’s 739 wins with the Islanders tops that list, followed by Blake (500), Ruff (487), Glen Sather (464 with Edmonton) and Dick Irvin (431 with Montreal).
PLAYERS REACHING OUT
The Nashville Predators participate in a number of community outreach initiatives each year. This season boats special involvement from Wade Belak and Jordin Tootoo with Belak’s Battalion and Team Tootoo – player sponsored ticket programs which work to bring local community organizations to Nashville Predators games. Also this season, forwards J-P Dumont and Steve Sullivan are putting their best skate forward with the creation of their new joint program, Kids Come First, in which both players joined together to purchase a suite for every single home Nashville Predators game in the 2010-11 season. Sullivan has designated his suite for use by members of the youth hockey community, while Dumont will be proudly offering his suite to patients from Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. In addition to the ticket programs, President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile donates $100 to Operation Homefront – which provides emergency assistance and morale to our U.S. Troops – in addition to USA Hockey and Peterson for Parkinson’s Foundation for every Predators victory, while Head Coach Barry Trotz gives $500 to My Friend’s House (a United Way agency) for each win.