TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (DirecTV 644 SD, 644-1 HD; Dish 446 SD, 9516 HD;
Comcast Nashville 295; Comcast Chattanooga/Cleveland/Knoxville 401; Comcast Memphis Memphis 830) Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.9-FM WBUZ Tom Callahan's Game Day Update
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES VS. DETROIT
The Nashville Predators visit Joe Louis Arena for the second of three times in 2010-11 tonight, the last time the Predators and Red Wings will see each other until Detroit’s first trip to Nashville on Feb. 5, 2011. In the teams’ first clash of the season on Oct. 30, an injury-ravaged Predators squad, missing five players including two of their top-four defensemen (Ryan Suter and Francis Bouillon) and two of their top-four centermen (Marcel Goc and Matthew Lombardi) received goals from Kevin Klein and Joel Ward, but fell by a 5-2 score. Linus Klasen made his NHL debut for the Predators, while Alexander Sulzer played a career-high 28:18 to lead the five-man defensive unit.
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 9-20-7 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 8-10-4 record since the 2003-04 campaign.
J-P Dumont has more career points (9g-21a-30pts, 39gp) and more points as a Predator (6g-17a-23pts, 29gp) against the Red Wings than any other team... Ward has 10 points (6g-4a) in 11 games vs. Detroit as a Predator… Steve Sullivan has more career assists against Detroit (30) than any other team. In 21 games as a Predator vs. Detroit, he’s posted 23 points (6g-15a)… 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 5-2-2 with a 2.40 goals-against average.
The Predators have allowed just 20 goals in their last 10 games (two of which were shootout tallies) dating back to a 3-0 victory at Montreal on Nov. 18, good for a 1.74 goals-against average in that span. For the season, Nashville is allowing 2.54 goals per game, seventh lowest in the NHL, and third lowest in the Western Conference. The Preds have given up just 20 second-period goals, tied for fourth fewest in the NHL, and 21 third-frame goals, which also ranks among the Top 10.
EXTRA TIME ONCE AGAIN
The Predators went to overtime/a shootout for the seventh time in the last 13 games dating back to a 3-2 shootout win at St. Louis on Nov. 11, bringing their NHL-high total of extra-time games to 10. Nashville has posted a 4-2 record while playing in a League-high six shootouts, while they have yet to claim an overtime decision in four tries. All-time, the Preds are 83-68-60 (.536) in extra time, including a 32-22-13 record against the Central Division (.575). Nashville and Detroit have gone to extra time on 19 occasions, Nashville’s second-highest total to its 20 OT/SO contests with St. Louis. It is 7-8-4 in those 19 games.
RECORD STREAK COMES TO AN END
On Monday, the Atlanta Thrashers cracked the Predators penalty kill once on four attempts, ending Nashville’s franchise-record run of nine games without allowing a man-advantage goal. The killers extinguished 32 power plays in that stretch, and coupled with two kills in the third period vs. Toronto on Nov. 16, and three kills to start the Atlanta game, the Preds set a franchise record for most consecutive penalty kills at 37. The stretch also included five road games without a flaw while a man down (tied for second all-time) and 23 straight road kills (third in franchise history.
Having gone perfect in 11-of-13 outings since a 3-2 shootout win at St. Louis on Nov. 11, the man-down unit has gone from 78.7 percent (23rd NHL) to 84.8 percent (seventh NHL). On home ice, the killers are tied for fifth at 88.4 percent.
THREE TIMES THREE
With assists on Monday, Kevin Klein (1g-2a) and Sergei Kostitsyn (1g-3a) created three-game point streaks, while team points leader Cal O’Reilly (2g-2a) made it four games with a point. For Klein, it is the first time in his career to post points in three consecutive contests. Klein has nine points (2g-8a) in 25 2010-11 games, just two shy of last season’s 81-game output (1g-10a) and three points shy of a career-high set in 2009-10 (4g-8a). Both of Klein’s goals this season, and seven of his eight career goals, have come against Central Division foes… Kostitsyn’s three gamer is his first such streak in a Predators sweater. He tallied his first multi-point performance with the club on Saturday (2a) and played a season-high 15:59 on Monday. He is a +6 during the point streak, and five (3g-2a) of his seven (3g-4a) points this season have come on the road. O’Reilly’s four-game point streak is just one shy of a career high set in a five-game span between Oct. 30-Nov. 11, 2010, also the longest by a Nashville Predator this season. Eight of O’Reilly’s team-leading 11 assists have come on the road, and 12 of his team-best 17 points have come away from Bridgestone Arena.
Tonight will be Nashville’s 16th road game of the season, most in the Western Conference… This is the Predators only game against the West over a five-game span between Dec. 4-13… Nashville and Detroit are the only two Central Division teams to have winning records against intra-divisional opponents. The Predators are 5-3-1 against the Central, including a 3-2-0 mark on the road… The Predators have notched at least one first-period goal in each contest of their five-game point streak, outscoring the opposition 8-1 in that span. They rank among the League’s Top 10 in first-period markers (24)… Nashville is averaging 10.4 penalty minutes per game, tied with Detroit for the third-fewest in the League, and fewest in the Western Conference… Nashville is 4-4-1 when trailing after 20 minutes, the NHL’s fourth-best record in that situation… Nashville’s power play is 4-for-22 (18.2 percent) in the last six games after going 3-for-69 (4.3 percent) over the previous 17 games. The Preds are 5-2-1 when scoring a power-play goal, and 10-3-4 when not giving up a power-play goal… Martin Erat has five assists in his last three games… Kevin Klein is tied for fifth among all NHL defensemen with a +8 road rating … The Predators have three of the Top 10 defensemen in hits – Francis Bouillon leads all NHL blueliners (83), with Shea Weber (seventh, 73) and Shane O’Brien (10th, 67) also ranked high.