STORYLINES VS. L.A.
Nashville and Los Angeles face-off for the first time in 2011-12 tonight at the Staples Center. A season ago, Los Angeles won the four-game series, 3-1, with Nashville’s only win coming in Tinseltown on Jan. 6. Los Angeles is the only team the Predators have a winning record against on the road (13-8-(0)-3) but a losing record against at home (8-13-(3)-0).
When these teams last met at the Staples Center on Jan. 6, the Predators were in the middle an eventual six-game winning streak from Dec. 31-Jan. 11, 2011, including their second-ever sweep of the NHL’s three California teams. For the fourth straight game, Nashville put up at least four goals, defeating the Kings, 5-2. The win was the Preds sixth in their last seven games at the Staples Center, and came despite allowing the game’s first two goals. Nashville responded with five unanswered tallies, including three goals in just over five minutes in the second period. The Predators received three-point performances from Sergei Kostitsyn (1g-2a) and Colin Wilson (career-high 1g-2a), and two markers from Patric Hornqvist.
Kostitsyn has six points (1g-5a) in six career games against the Kings… Ryan Suter posted three helpers in three games against the Kings in 2010-11… Hornqvist has six points (3g-3a) in 10 career outings vs. L.A… Shea Weber has amassed 11 points (5g-6a) in 16 games against L.A… Martin Erat has 14 points (2g-12a) in his last 13 games vs.L.A, including a career-high four assists in a 4-3 overtime win on March 28, 2009. Overall, the Trebic, Czech Republic native has 23 points (4g-19a) in 31 career contests against the Kings.
With a team-leading 14 points (5g-9a) in 13 games, David Legwand is off to the best start of his 12-season NHL career. The Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., native posted his second multi-goal game of the season on Saturday night, beating San Jose netminder Antti Niemi twice to extend his point streak to four games (3g-3a). It is the second four-game point streak he’s had through just 13 games in 2011-12. The second of Legwand’s goals was the game-winner in overtime, his eighth career OT goal –tied for 11th among active players in the category. It was also the original Predators draft pick’s 462nd career point, moving him to within one of Kelly Miller and Al Iafrate for eighth in points among Michigan-born NHLers. He already ranks eighth among Michiganders in goals (174).
Patric Hornqvist scored in his fifth consecutive game on Saturday at San Jose (6g), just one shy of the franchise record set by J-P Dumont from Dec. 29-Jan. 8, 2008 (6g) then tied by Alexander Radulov from Jan. 21-Feb. 2, 2008 (7g). He tallied his second multiplepoint game of the season with his first assist of the year on Legwand’s first marker, and now has seven points (6g-1a) in his last five games, after being held scoreless through his first seven games (missing one game on Oct. 13 due to injury).
With a 5-2-1 (11pts.) record away from Bridgestone Arena in 2011-12 – including a 3-0-1 mark since shutting out Calgary 2-0 on Oct. 22 – Nashville ranks third behind Colorado (6-1-1, 13pts.) and Pittsburgh (5-2-2, 12pts.) in points accumulated on the road. The Predators have taken 11-of-16 points on the road (.688) – scoring 22 goals on 193 shots (11.3 percent) – while holding their opponents to 20 goals on 253 shots against (7.9 percent).
• The Predators have allowed two power-play goals on 23 chances since Oct. 22 –a span of seven games – and rank ninth in PK efficiency (87.3 percent). They are even better on the road at 88.4 percent.
• The Predators have outscored their opponents 13-5 in the second period. That is the second largest goal differential in the middle frame behind only Pittsburgh (16-7).
• Since going 1-for-18 (5.6 percent) on the power play over a five-game span from Oct. 13-22, Nashville has converted 4 of its last 21 man-advantage opportunities (19 percent). Nashville is 4-1-2 this season when scoring a power-play marker.
• Weber’s +7 puts him among the League’s Top 20 in the category. After finishing +3 on Saturday, Legwand is now tied for third in road plus/minus (+7).
• Jonathon Blum entered Monday’s games ranked fourth in blocked shots (40).
THE PREDATORS ANNUAL CMA TRIP
Since 2006, it has been a staple of the Nashville Predators schedule –the annual extended road trip in early November to accommodate the Country Music Association Awards, being held this year on Nov. 9. The CMA essentially takes over every square inch of the event level to prepare for the show, this year starting their extravagant lighting and set load-in on Oct. 23, 18 days before the actual show and with three Predators home games still in the venue before they take full control.
On their first two CMA trips, the Predators went a combined 7-1-1, sweeping Western Canada and defeating Minnesota in 2006, then going 3-1-1 on a 2007 trip that started on the Canadian Prairie (Calgary) and ended in Detroit. The 2008 trip started roughly with losses at Vancouver, Calgary and Colorado, but ended with the team’s first-ever sweep of California, highlighted by Dan Ellis’ franchise-record 54 saves in a 4-3 win at San Jose on Nov. 11. In each of the past two seasons, Nashville has ended the trip on a winning note in St. Louis, topping the Blues on Nov. 12, 2009 by a 3-1 score, and on Nov. 11, 2010, 3-2 in a shootout.
COUNTDOWN TO NASHVILLE’S 1,000TH GAME The Predators will celebrate their 1,000th game on Saturday, Nov. 12 vs. Montreal. Leading up to this game – and all season long – we will look back on some of the most memorable moments in club history. November 8, 2003: Preds score three in third to beat Detroit, 4-3; begins run to 2004 playoffs
Over the course of an 82-game season, it’s not very often that a team can point to one game as a defining moment. For the 2003-04 Nashville Predators, however, it goes back to one November night at Joe Louis Arena. The Predators staged one of the most dramatic comebacks in franchise history in the most unlikely of places, rallying from a 3-0 deficit with four scores in the final 20 minutes. It became a 4-3 win in regulation in Detroit, a place where Nashville had posted a record of 1-10-3 in 14 all-time trips up to that point.
The first of four third-period goals came from the stick of Vladimir Orszagh at 6:47, energizing the Nashville attack. The Predators began to funnel players to the net, creating traffic, and Nashville fired a total of 20 shots on Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph in the third.
Martin Erat scored at 11:57, Scott Hartnell tied the game at 16:26 and Scott Walker notched the game-winner, completing the comeback with just 57 seconds remaining. "It's as well as we've played for a short period –20 minutes," head coach Barry Trotz said. "That might be our best period for passion, determination and those things. The guys were determined they were going to make something happen." After a slow start to the season had put the Preds into a 4-8-1 hole, the victory over the Red Wings sparked a run of 10 wins in their next 12 games and vaulted Nashville towards the first playoff berth in franchise history. "We came out and played an unbelievable period," goaltender Tomas Vokoun said. "It just shows that we have it in us."