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PREDATORS (11-11-6) AT OILERS (10-11-6)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (Dish: 440/HD: 9575; 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
BOURQUE SCORES AGAIN
Gabriel Bourque scored for the team-leading ninth time on Friday at Calgary, giving the second-year forward goals in a career-high three consecutive games. The Rimouski, Que., native has tallied five goals in his last seven outings to surpass his output from his rookie campaign in 2011-12 (seven goals in 43 games). Friday’s goal was a power-play goal, moving Bourque into a tie for first in man-advantage markers. He is also the only Predator with multiple game-winning goals, and has Nashville’s lone shorthanded marker on the year. Six of Bourque’s nine goals have come on the road.
THE CAPTAIN STAYS STRONG
After having a four-game point streak snapped on Thursday at Vancouver, Shea Weber got back on the board with a power-play assist on Friday at Calgary, giving the Predators captain 14 points (4g-10a) in his last 15 games, including seven points (1g-6a) in his last six games. The Sicamous, B.C., native also led the team in ice time for the 22nd time this season on Friday (24:09), and ranks fourth in the NHL in total minutes played (717:45). Weber also ranks among the League’s Top Five defensemen in shots (74), and among the Top 25 blueliners in hits (60) and blocked shots (55).
Four other Preds reached the scoresheet on Friday to extend point streaks:
- Matt Halischuk has registered points/assists in three consecutive games (1g-3a) since returning from a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals on Monday. His career long point streak is four games, while the three-game assist streak ties a personal best.
- David Legwand’s goal at 17:41 of the third period on Friday extended his active point streak to five games (3g-3a), just one off of a career high. Prior to the current streak, he had registered two points (1g-1a) in his previous 10 outings.
- Nick Spaling extended his point streak to a career-high three games (2g-1a). Four of Spaling’s five goals this season have come on the road.
- Mike Fisher scored for the second consecutive game at Calgary. He had two goals in 12 games prior to the Vancouver/Calgary tilts.
POWER PLAY COMES ALIVE
Nashville went one-for-two on the power play on Friday at Calgary, and is now 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) in its last five games after going 1-for-14 in the six games prior. The recent hot stretch has elevated the power play into the top half of the NHL.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. EDMONTON
The Nashville Predators visit Edmonton Oilers for the only time this season on Sunday, the second of three games between the Preds and Oilers in 2012-13; they will play again eight days from now in Nashville. In the season opener of the series on March 8, the Predators received a career-best four points (2g-2a) from Colin Wilson and a 24-save shutout from Pekka Rinne in a 6-0 victory at Bridgestone Arena. It was Nashville’s largest margin of victory since Feb. 28, 2009 vs. Detroit (8-0).
Since the start of the 2006-07 season, Nashville is 18-6-1 against Edmonton, including a 9-2-1 mark at Rexall Place. Nashville won its last trip to Edmonton by a 2-1 score on Nov. 28, 2011 thanks to Nick Spaling’s game winner at 12:21 of the third period.
Shea Weber tied a personal best with three assists the last time these teams met, and has six points (1g-5a) in his last four outings against the Oilers. Weber’s .83 points per game against Edmonton for his career (8g-12a-20pts, 24gp) is tied with his output against Columbus for the highest against a single team… David Legwand also scored in the 2012-13 season opener of the series, and has seen more offensive success against Edmonton than any other non-divisional opponent (14g-20a-34pts, 45gp)… Patric Hornqvist has posted 11 points (7g-4a) in 14 career games vs. the Oilers, including a goal on March 8 before leaving due to injury… Martin Erat notched his first career hat trick, a natural hat trick, at Rexall Place on March 4, 2008, the second road hat trick in franchise history… The Oilers are one of four teams Chris Mason has a sub-2.00 goals-against average against. For his career, he is 5-1-2 with a 1.84 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. .. Zach Boychuk scored in his Predators debut on March 8.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS vs. EDMONTON
Victor Bartley – Made his NHL debut on March 8, 2013 vs. Edmonton
Gabriel Bourque – A career-high two assists on March 20, 2012 vs. Edmonton
Zach Boychuk – Scored his first goal as a Predator on March 8, 2013 vs. Edmonton (Yann Danis)
Martin Erat – First career hat trick on March 4, 2008 at Edmonton
Scott Hannan – His most recent of 33 career goals on Feb. 21, 2012 vs. Edmonton (with Calgary)
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 3 at Calgary 6
- Roman Josi recorded his third career multi-point game with a pair of assists. He also played 23:03, and has led the team in ice time in the six games that Weber has not. Josi’s 2012-13 average ice time is up by more than four minutes from his rookie season (from 18:23 to 22:31).
- Craig Smith appeared in his 100th career NHL game. He has seven points (3g-4a) in his last 13 after recording one point/assist in his first 15 games of 2012-13.
- Chris Mueller made his season debut after being recalled from Milwaukee on Wednesday.
- Rich Clune finished with a minus rating (-1) for just the third time in his career. Clune ranks among the League’s Top 20 in hits (76), and is tied for fourth in the NHL in fighting majors (7).
- Nashville found the back of the net in the second and third periods, meaning it has scored in nine of its last 10 regulation frames played.
- The Preds were outshot 22-20. They are now 7-7-4 when being outshot.
- The Predators were shorthanded three times. They rank among the League’s Top 10 in fewest times shorthanded (93), and have posted the third-fewest penalty minutes per game in the League this season (10.8). 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 11 of their first 28 games in 2012-13, tied for the highest total in the League. They hold a 5-6 record in contests that go beyond 60 minutes, having posted a 3-1 record in the five-minute, four-on-four session, and 2-5 mark in shootouts. 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 11th time in 2011-12 until game No. 54 on Feb. 7, 2012 vs. Vancouver.
- The Predators are currently without their leading point getter in 2012-13 (Colin Wilson, upper body), their leading goal scorer from two of the past three seasons (Patric Hornqvist, upper body), the League’s third-best face-off man (Paul Gaustad, upper body), and the team’s lone Stanley Cup winner and most veteran member (Hal Gill, lower body).