TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (DirecTV 644 SD, 644-1 HD; Dish 445 SD, 9515 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. ANAHEIM
The Predators begin their second swing through California tonight at the Honda Center, the third game between the Predators and Ducks this season, and last until game No. 75 on March 24 at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville kicked off its 2010-11 campaign against Anaheim on Oct. 9 in the Music City, putting three pucks past Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller in the second period, and one more in the third to cruise to 4-1 victory. Steve Sullivan notched 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 season-high 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. In their first trip of the season to Orange County two months ago on Nov. 7, the Preds fell in a wild affair, 5-4, on a goal by Paul Mara with just 1.7 seconds left in regulation. A season-high six combined goals were scored in the third period of that contest, with Cody Franson, Cal O’Reilly and Patric Hornqvist all notching a goal and an assist.
The Predators will be looking to salvage a road split for the third consecutive season vs. Anaheim. They’ve gone 2-2-1 since the start of 2008-09, after posting an 0-5-1 record from 2005-08.
Weber has 10 points (3g-7a) in his last 11 games against Anaheim dating back to Nov. 14, 2008… Steve Sullivan leads all Nashville skaters with 33 points (17g-17a) in 41 career games against Anaheim. Since joining the Predators, he has 16 points (6g-10a) in 18 games against the Ducks, including a goal in their last matchup… Patric Hornqvist has three points (2g-1a) in two games against Anaheim this season. On Nov. 5, 2010 at the Honda Center, he became the fifth player to put at least 10 shots on goal. Weber became the sixth to hit the mark when these teams met on Jan. 2, 2010… For his career, Rinne is 4-2-2 with a 2.05 goals-against average vs. Anaheim… Defenseman 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.
Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber notched his first three-point game (1g-2a) since Dec. 29, 2009 at St. Louis (3a) in Sunday’s victory over Columbus, moving him into a tie for the team points lead (6g-14a). All three of his points were collected in the second period, tying the franchise record for points in a frame attained 27 times previously, most recently by Jason Arnott (1g-2a) on Feb. 4, 2010 vs. Colorado (2nd per.). The 6-4, 232-pound defenseman has five points (1g-4a) in the last two games, and 10 points (2g-8a) in the last 11 contests. The Predators are 6-0-0 when he scores a goal this season. The Sicamous, B.C., native is also second among NHL d-men in shots (129), tied for ninth at the position in hits (97), 10th among all skaters in average ice time (24:46). He, Dallas’ Stephane Robidas and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook are the only defensemen to have more than 15 points and more than 90 hits this season.
WILSON GETS HOT
Just two games after notching the first two-goal performance of his career (Dec. 28 vs. Dallas), second-year forward Colin Wilson recorded his first career multi-assist outing on Sunday vs. Columbus, contributing the primary assist on Nashville’s first and fourth goals. Eight of Wilson’s nine assists this season are primary assists. The Greenwich, Conn., native now has 12 points (7g-5a) in his last 18 games after posting six points (2g-4a) in the first 20 contests of 2010-11.
TROTZ ONE WIN FROM IRVIN
Barry Trotz – the Nashville Predators only head coach since entering the League in 1998 – collected his 430th career win on Sunday at Columbus, leaving him just one shy of Hall-of-Famer Dick Irvin’s total with the Montreal Canadiens (431 wins from 1940-55) for sixth on the all-time wins with one team list. Earlier this season, Trotz moved past Scotty Bowman’s tenure with the Canadiens (419 wins from 1971-79), and the last time Nashville visited the Honda Center on Nov. 7, he passed Montreal’s Toe Blake to move into fifth on the all-time games coached with one team list. The top five coaches on the wins list are Al Arbour (740, N.Y. Islanders), Billy Reay (516, Chicago), Blake (500, Montreal), Lindy Ruff (499, Buffalo) and Glen Sather (464), while the top four on the games coached list are Arbour (1,500), Ruff (1,022), Reay (1,012) and Jack Adams (964, Detroit).
DEFENSE STAYS ATOP THE WEST
The Predators continued their stout defensive play in Sunday’s 4-1 victory, allowing two goals or fewer for the 16th time in the last 22 games to lower their goals-against average to 2.40 – the lowest mark in the Western Conference and tied for third-lowest in the League. In that stretch which started Nov. 18 at Montreal, goaltender Pekka Rinne has posted 1.59 goals-against average – the lowest among goalies with at least five games played – and a .937 save percentage, fourth-best in the League. For the season, Rinne ranks seventh in the League in goals-against average (2.26).
The penalty kill has been a contributing factor as well, putting out 67-of-73 chances against (91.8 percent) over the 22-game period to rise to fourth in the League (85.3 percent) and second in the Western Conference.
Tonight marks the beginning of Nashville’s eighth set of back-to-backs; it plays a total of 13 in 2010-11. The team is 4-3-0 on the front-end and 3-3-1 on the back-end thus far… From now until the All-Star Break, the Predators play 10-of-12 games on the road including the current three-game trip through California and a six-game trip later this month. By the break, Nashville will have played 30 of its 41 road games… The Predators have given up a League-low 28 second-period goals, and are tied for third in third-period markers allowed (30)… Nashville has been shorthanded 136 times, the fewest in the West. Its 9.6 penalty minutes per game ranks second in the West and third in the League.