TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. N.Y. RANGERS
The Nashville Predators and New York Rangers will meet on Bridgestone Arena ice for just the seventh time, and first since March 12, 2009, tonight. It is just the fifth game between the two in the last five seasons. Despite playing them on just 14 occasions in their history, the Predators have seen a couple of historic feats come while posting a 7-6-(1)-0 record vs. the Blueshirts. On Dec. 23, 2000 at Madison Square Garden, the Predators made NHL history in a 3-2 victory. Trailing 2-1 with Marian Cisar in the box for tripping, Scott Walker scored a shorthanded goal with just 1:43 left in regulation to force overtime. Then 3:17 into the extra session, David Legwand
was hauled down and awarded the third penalty shot in franchise history. He beat goaltender Kirk McLean with a backhander for what was the first overtime penalty-shot goal in National Hockey League history. Wayne Gretzky also made his only appearance against the Predators while in a Rangers sweater, setting a Bridgestone Arena record with five assists in a 7-4 New York win on Feb. 15, 1999.
The last meeting between the Predators and Rangers came Feb. 10, 2010 during an Atlantic Division swing that took Nashville up to the Olympic Break. Behind Colin Wilson
’s first career game-winning/power-play goal and a first-period tally by Jordin Tootoo
, the Preds prevailed 2-1 to improve to 5-0-(1)-0 in six trips to MSG since 2000-01. The Rangers claimed victory in their last trip to the Music City on March 12, 2009, winning 4-2 in a game that saw Shea Weber
score his 18th of the season, tying the franchise record for goals by a defenseman in a season.
Wilson’s father – Carey – spent two seasons with the Rangers from 1988-90, posting 81 points (30g-51a) and 102 penalty minutes in 82 games… J-P Dumont
has 13 goals in 24 career games against the Rangers, tied for his highest total against any of the League’s 30 teams (with Carolina)… Steve Sullivan
has seven assists in six games against N.Y. Rangers as a Predator, and 19 points (3g-16a) in 22 career games against the club.
Career highs/highlights attained against the Rangers
Dumont – First career hat trick (three total) and a career-high 9 shots on goal on April 8, 1999 (w/ CHI)
– Only career penalty shot on Feb. 3, 2008 against Henrik Lundqvist (goal) (w/ MTL)
Legwand – First career penalty shot on Dec. 23, 2000 against Kirk McLean (goal).
The Nashville Predators have won over 50% of their faceoffs in four consecutive games, winning 139-of-240 draws over those four games (57.9%), including 29-of-53 yesterday at Minnesota. Jerred Smithson
has been at the forefront of the team’s faceoff success, going 36-for-55 (65.5%) over the past four contests. Smithson’s 57.0% success rate in the faceoff circle leads the team and ranked among the top-15 in the NHL entering last night’s games. Beyond his success in the circle, Smithson has also netted two goals in the last four games, his first two tallies of the season.
The Predators out shot Minnesota 34-23 yesterday, the second consecutive game the team has outshot its opponent by more than 10 shots. Nashville outshot St. Louis by a 30-15 margin on Wednesday night. Nashville has attempted more shots than its opponent in six of its last eight games, holding a combined 241-208 advantage (30.1 – 26.0 average) on the shot clock over that eight-game stretch. Prior to the recent string, the Predators had out shot their opponents just four times over the first 13 games of the season.
The Predators have gone to overtime in five of their eight home games this season, including shootouts in each of their past two home appearances (Wednesday vs. St. Louis and November 13 vs. Chicago). Nashville is 2-1 in home games decided in regulation, but has won just one of its five home overtime/shootout decisions. By comparison, Nashville has played past regulation in just two of its 13 road games, winning both extra time contests. Last season the Predators went to extra time in 10 of their 41 home games, winning seven of those 10.
The Predators are closing out their fourth back-to-back set of the season tonight. Nashville is 4-3-0 in back-to-back games this season, including a 2-1-0 mark in the second leg of back-to-back sets. The Predators are 1-0-0 at Bridgestone Arena in second games of back-to-backs this season (Oct. 14 vs. STL, 4-3 W) … Nashville is 3-1-2 this season against the Eastern Conference… Nashville has allowed just one third-period goal in the last seven games, outscoring its foes 5-1 and outshooting them 79-48 in the process... Nashville has been shorthanded 80 times this season, among the fewest in the League entering last night’s games. The Predators are also averaging just 10.5 penalty minutes per game, among the lowest in the league… Nashville is 4-2-1 when scoring a power-play goal… Entering last night’s games, Nashville defensemen account for three of the top 11 spots on the hits by defenseman list – Francis Bouillon
was atop the category with 71, Shea Weber
was tied for second with 65 and Shane O’Brien was eighth with 58 hits … Patric Hornqvist
recorded a pair of assists in yesterday’s game at Minnesota, his third career multi-assist outing. Hornqvist dished out a career-high three assists on April 1, 2010 vs. St. Louis and notched two assists on October 25, 2008 vs. Los Angeles.