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FLAMES (11-12-4) at PREDATORS (11-13-6)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (Dish: 453/HD: 9576; 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
THE CAPTAIN STAYS STRONG
On Tuesday in Columbus, Shea Weber tallied the 52nd multi-point game (2a) of his career, tying him with Jason Arnott for sixth on the franchise's all-time list. With Tuesday’s helpers, the Preds captain has now posted 17 points (5g-12a) in his last 17 games, including 10 points (2g-8a) in his last eight outings. He is now tied for 11th among NHL defenders in points (5g-13a-18pts), tied for eighth in goals and third in shots (79). The Sicamous, B.C., native also led the team in ice time for the 24th time this season (22:52), and ranks third in the NHL in total minutes played (765:56).
2009 DRAFT CLASS MAKES AN IMPACT
Taylor Beck became the fifth member of Nashville’s 2009 draft class to don a Predators jersey when he made his NHL debut on Tuesday in Columbus. Beck, a third-round pick in 2009, posted 14:49 of ice time and two shots on goal in his debut.
Gabriel Bourque, a fifth-round selection in 2009, extended his team goals lead with his 10th marker of the season at 14:45 of the second period in Columbus. The second-year forward has posted four goals in his last five outings, and six in his last nine games. Seven of Bourque’s 10 goals this season have come on the road. The Rimouski, Que., native is tied for first in man-advantage markers (3) and is the only Predator with multiple game-winning goals (2). He also posted Nashville’s lone shorthanded marker on the year.
Only the N.Y. Islanders have had more players (6) from the 2009 draft make their debuts, but four of those six picks were taken in the first 62 selections. Nashville has done it with a first-rounder (Ryan Ellis), a third-rounder (Beck), two fourth-rounders (Mattias Ekholm and Craig Smith), and a fifth-rounder (Bourque).
FISHER, JOSI AND LEGWAND STAY HOT
- With points in four consecutive games (3g-1a), Mike Fisher is riding his longest points streak of the season. He has now posted six points (3g-3a) in his last seven outings and has moved into a tie for second with seven goals this season.
- Roman Josi tied his career-long point-scoring streak with his assist on Gabriel Bourque’s goal on Tuesday. The Bern, Switzerland native has found scoresheet in three straight games, posting five points (1g-4a) during that span. He also played 22:31, and has led the team in ice time in the six games that Shea 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 22:33).
- David Legwand has been a point-per-game player after posting seven points (3g-4a) in his last seven games. Prior to the current streak, he had registered just two points (1g-1a) in his previous 10 outings. His assist on Tuesday at Columbus moved him into a tie for seventh in points among Michigan-born NHLers with Brian Rafalski (515pts).
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. CALGARY
The Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames meet for the second time in seven-day span tonight at Bridgestone Arena, with one more match-up still to come on April 23 in Nashville. One week ago in the second game of a back-to-back which saw the Preds play at Vancouver less than 24 hours earlier, Gabriel Bourque, Mike Fisher and David Legwand all scored in the final 35 minutes of play, but a three-goal deficit was too large to overcome as Nashville fell by a 6-3 score at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Roman Josi recorded his third career multi-point game with a pair of assists, while Chris Mueller made his season debut against the Flames on March 9.
The Predators have won each of the last two meetings between the clubs on Bridgestone Arena ice. On Jan. 1, 2012, Sergei Kostitsyn registered the 21st hat trick in franchise history in a 5-3 win at Bridgestone Arena, and on Dec. 13, 2011, Colin Wilson scored the game-winning goal at 3:31 of the third period as Nashville edged Calgary, 2-1. Nashville has garnered points in four straight when hosting the Flames, going 2-0-2 since the start of the 2010-11 season to improve its home record against them to 15-9-3 all-time.
In addition to his hat trick, Kostitsyn had a goal in the Oct. 22 win to finish the 2011-12 season series with four goals in four games. He did not appear in the March 9 game… Matt Halischuk has four points (1g-3a) in his last five games against Calgary… Martin Erat has 25 career points (8g-17a) in 34 games against the Flames… Scott Hannan made his NHL debut on October 9, 1998 at Calgary as a member of the San Jose Sharks. He also spent the 2011-12 season with the Flames, posting 12 points (2g-10a) and 38 penalty minutes in 78 games.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 3 at Columbus 4
- Nashville outshot Columbus 35-31. It was their highest shot output since Feb. 18 at Colorado when it put a season-high 38 shots on net.
- Nashville found the back of the net in the second and third periods, meaning it has scored in 13 of its last 16 regulation frames played.
- With two goals in the final frame, the Predators have scored in nine consecutive third periods, amassing 13 goals in that span.
- In his second game of the season and 21st of his career, Chris Mueller scored his first career goal.
- Rich Clune notched an assist, giving him five points (2g-3a) in his last 11 games after posting three points (1g-2a) in his first 32 NHL contests.
- Brandon Yip notched his first point/assist since Feb. 7 at Los Angeles, in addition to putting a season-high four shots on goal. Also played 17:28, his second highest ice time of the season.
- Victor Bartley played 20:36, his highest total since making his NHL debut on March 8.
- All but two Nashville skaters (Matt Halischuk and Martin Erat) registered shots on goal.
- Nashville was shorthanded three times, amassing only six penalty minutes. They rank among the League’s Top 10 in fewest times shorthanded (98), and have posted the second-fewest penalty minutes per game in the League this season (10.4). 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).
- Nashville has gone 7-for-21 (33.3 percent) on the power play in its last seven games after going 1-for-14 in the six games prior.
- Mike Fisher ranks second among NHL forwards in blocked shots (38), while Kevin Klein is tied for 20th among all skaters in the category (59).
- Craig Smith has eight points (3g-5a) in his last 15 after recording one point/assist in his first 15 games of 2012-13.
- Matt Halischuk has four points (1g-3a) in five games since returning from a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals on March 11.
- Shea Weber has 10 points (2g-8a) in 12 home games, while Sergei Kostitsyn has eight of his nine assists in 12 games at Bridgestone Arena.
- The Predators have gone to overtime or a shootout in 11 of their first 30 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 experienced member (Hal Gill, lower body).