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PREDATORS (9-8-5) AT KINGS (10-7-2)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (Dish: 449/HD: 9519; Direct TV: 644/HD: 644-1 ; Comcast Nashville 1675; Comcast Chattanooga/Cleveland/Knoxville 401; Comcast Memphis 830; Charter Nashville 33/810; AT&T Nashville 724/1724)
Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. LOS ANGELES
Nashville and Los Angeles wrap up their three-game 2012-13 regular season series on Monday night at Staples Center with the Predators in search of a season sweep after earning a 2-1 shootout victory on Jan. 31 in Southern California and a 3-0 win at Bridgestone Arena on Feb. 7. The Kings are the only Western Conference team that the Predators have a winning record against on the road (14-10-3), but a losing record against at home (10-14-3).
Last time the teams met on Feb. 7, Pekka Rinne recorded his first of what would be three shutouts in a four-start span, and Colin Wilson had two goals in the 3-0 victory, giving him seven points (4g-3a) in 12 career games against L.A. In the team’s last visit out West, the Predators tied a club mark by scoring four times in an eight-round shootout to claim a 2-1 win. Gabriel Bourque, Craig Smith and Sergei Kostitsyn (shootout-deciding marker) all notched their first career shootout tallies, while Rinne stopped 23 shots in regulation and five-of-eight L.A. shooters.
Bourque notched the game-winning goal in the Feb. 7 matchup, and has three points (1g-2a) in five career games against the Kings… Patric Hornqvist was injured for both of the first two meetings between these clubs, but has 10 points (7g-3a) in 14 career games against L.A… Martin Erat has 27 points (6g-21a) in 38 career games against the Kings… Kostitsyn has eight points (2g-6a) in 11 career games against the Kings… Chris Mason has recorded five shutouts against Los Angeles – his highest total against any team. The total includes his first career whitewash on Jan. 13, 2004. He has a 9-4-1 record with a 1.80 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage against L.A. in his career… Rich Clune was claimed on waivers from Los Angeles on Jan. 15. During the 2009-10 campaign, he played his first 14 NHL regular season games (0g-2a, 26 PIM) – and four playoff contests (0g-0a, 5 PIM) – with the Kings, and was with the organization from 2006-13.
RINNE CONTINUES STRONG RUN
Pekka Rinne made a season-high 37 saves in Saturday’s game at San Jose. This marked the first time in regulation that the Predators did not win when Rinne made 35-or-more saves since Dec. 26, 2010. He was 25-0-3 in his last 28 games making 35-or-more saves. Since Rinne shut out the Kings on Jan. 31 he has posted a 1.88 goals-against average and .929 save percentage while appearing in 15 of Nashville’s 16 games in that span.
Shea Weber has been nearly a point-per-game player as of late, after collecting seven points (3g-4a) in his last nine outings. That streak has moved Nashville’s captain into a tie for fourth in team scoring with eight points (3g-5a) on the year. Weber’s defensive partner, Roman Josi has record five points (3g-2a) in his last six outings – with four of those points (2g-2a) coming last Monday against Dallas – and is now tied for sixth in team scoring with seven points (3g-4a).
Weber has led the Preds in ice time in 18-of-22 games this season and ranks eighth in the league in the category (25:56). Josi – who has led the team in the other four outings – ranks second on the team in average time on ice (22:31). That total is more than four minutes above his average from a season ago (18:23). Despite their high ice time, Weber has only been on the ice for nine even-strength goals against, while Josi has been present for just 10 even-strength goals against this season.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 1 at San Jose 2
Nashville lost in regulation to San Jose for just the second time in the last three seasons... Nashville was outshot 39-19, its largest shot deficit since Edmonton outshot Nashville 44-20 on March 20, 2012… The Preds fell to 9-3-5 when scoring at least one goal… Gabriel Bourque scored the Predators first shorthanded goal since Feb. 21, 2012 vs. Vancouver (Sergei Kostitsyn) to move into a tie for first on the team in goals (5). Bourque also led all Nashville skaters and tied a season high with four shots on goal... Nick Spaling recorded his second assist of the season on Bourque's goal. It marked just the fifth time in 39 career games the Preds failed to gain a point when Spaling reached the scoresheet (31-5-3 record)… Kevin Klein took his first minor penalty since Oct. 29, 2011 vs. Anaheim – a span of 94 regular-season games... Rich Clune doled out a game-high six hits. He ranks among the League’s Top 20 in the category (52).
TEAM QUICK HITS
The Predators are 6-3-2 against the Pacific Division in 2012-13… Nashville has allowed two goals or fewer in 13 of its 22 games this season. The Preds rank fifth in the league in team goals-against average (2.27)… Nashville is averaging the second-fewest penalty minutes per game in the League this season (10.0). The Preds led the League in the category in 2011-12 (8.4) and 2009-10 (8.7), and ranked second in 2010-11 (8.8)… The Predators have gone to overtime or a shootout in 10 of their first 22 games in 2012-13, tied for the most in the NHL. Nashville is 5-5 in those 10 games, with four being settled in overtime (3-1 record) and six going to a shootout (2-4). Last season, Nashville needed extra time on 16 occasions in 82 games, tied for the third fewest in the NHL. The Preds didn’t go beyond 60 minutes for the 10th time in 2011-12 until game No. 43 on Jan. 12, 2012 vs. Colorado.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
Colin Wilson has posted 14 points (4g-10a) in his last 15 games, including being in on 15 of the last 33 Predator goals (45.5 percent). He is one point shy of becoming the 24th player in franchise history – and 11th Preds draft pick – to reach the century mark in points for the club… Paul Gaustad has the top face-off winning percentage in the League (63.8 percent). He ranked sixth in face-off efficiency (57.3%) in 2011-12, his third consecutive season ranking among the League’s Top 10 in the category (third, 59.8 percent in 2010-11 and sixth, 57.4 percent in 2009-10)… The Predators are third in the League in blocked shots (346), and have three players ranked among the League’s Top 25 in the category – Kevin Klein (45), Shea Weber (42) and Scott Hannan (40). Mike Fisher is tied for first among all NHL forwards in blocked shots with 29… Craig Smith has four points (3g-1a) in his last seven games after recording one point/assist in his first 15 games of 2012-13… Rich Clune has assists in two of his last three games. He has finished with an even or plus rating in all but two of his 35 career NHL games.
BARRY TROTZ: LONGEST TENURED COACH IN THE NHL
Having been at the helm since the franchise’s first game on Oct. 10, 1998, Nashville Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz is the longest tenured head coach in the National Hockey League (1,088 games) and has the second longest active tenure in all four major sports behind only Gregg Popovich of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. A Jack Adams Award finalist in both 2010 and 2011, Trotz is 15th on the all-time coaching wins list, and his 512 wins with the Preds is fourth on the wins with a single team list, just four shy of Billy Reay’s total with Chicago for third. The Dauphin, Man., native is the only coach to lead his team to the postseason in seven of the last eight seasons.