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OILERS (11-12-7) at PREDATORS (13-13-6)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (Dish: 443/HD: 9581; 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
SWARM OF B’S
Taylor Beck, Gabriel Bourque and Bobby Butler led the offense attack on Saturday night as four of Nashville’s five players whose last names begin with “B” found the scoresheet against Columbus.
- Playing in just this third NHL game, Beck tallied his first-career NHL goal and his first multi-point game on Saturday night. Beck opened the scoring for Nashville 7:11 into the opening frame and then tallied the secondary assist on David Legwand’s game-winner to cap off an eventful first period. Beck also fired four shots on goal for the second straight game.
- Bourque tallied two assists on Saturday for his first multi-point outing of the year and first since March 20, 2012 (two assist vs. Edmonton). He has six points (4g-2a) in his last seven outings and leads the team in goals with 10. Seven of Bourque’s 10 goals this season have come on the road. The Rimouski, Que., native is tied for first in power-play markers (3) and has also posted Nashville’s lone shorthanded marker on the year.
- Butler has points (4a) in three straight games in which he’s dressed after being held scoreless in his first five games in a Preds sweater. This is Butler’s first point streak since February 9-15, 2012, when he posted six points (1g-5a) in four games with Ottawa.
- Jonathon Blum added an assist on Beck’s first period goal. It was his first point in 10 games since posting two points (1g-1a) against Colorado on Feb. 18.
FISHER STAYS HOT
Mike Fisher notched an assist on Roman Josi’s empty net goal against the Jackets, giving him points in six consecutive games (5g-2a). Fisher’s current point streak ties his longest as a Predator – he posted eight points (4g-4a) from March 26-April 5, 2011. The Peterborough, Ont., native has now posted nine points (5g-4a) in his last nine outings and ranks second on the team in goals this season (9). Fisher’s five markers since March 14 rank second in the League behind only Washington’s Alex Ovechkin in goals output during that span.
The defensive duo of Roman Josi and Shea Weber have been offensive catalysts for the Predators as of late – they have been in on 11 of the Nashville’s last 22 goals (50 percent) since March 14.
Josi has now posted points (2g-6a) in a career-high five consecutive games after collecting a power-play empty-net goal in the final minute of play on Saturday – it was his first man-advantage marker of the season. Josi’s current point streak includes three multi-point games. The second-year defenseman now ranks among the League’s Top 25 d-men in points (5g-10a). The Bern, Switzerland has led the team in ice time in the seven games that Weber has not. Josi’s average ice time is up by more than four minutes from his rookie season (from 18:23 to 22:43).
With his power-play goal on Saturday, Weber has posted 18 points (6g-12a) in his last 19 games, including 11 points (3g-8a) in his last 10 outings. Only Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter have collected more points since Weber’s hot streak began on Feb. 14. He is now tied with Colin Wilson for the team points lead (6g-13a-19pts). Nashville’s captain is also tied for seventh among NHL defenders in points, tied for third in goals and ranks sixth in power-play goals (3). Weber has also fired the third-most shots among d-men (83). The Sicamous, B.C., native has led the team in ice time in 25 of 32 games this season, and ranks third in the NHL in total minutes played (817:38).
The Nashville Predators had several notable offensive achievements in Saturday’s 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, most notably the fastest four goals in franchise history, which came in a span of 3:04 in the first period when Taylor Beck, Shea Weber, David Legwand and Matt Halischuk all scored between the 7:11 and 10:15 marks of the frame. The previous record was four goals in 3:38, set on Feb. 2, 2000 at the New York Islanders.
The four-goal first period was also the first time since Nashville rallied from a three-goal deficit to claim a 5-4 victory in the third period at Minnesota on Jan. 31, 2012. It was the first time the Preds put up four goals in a frame on Bridgestone Arena ice since Feb. 4, 2010 against the Colorado Avalanche. Paired with Thursday’s 5-3 rout of Calgary, it also meant Nashville scored five goals in back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 18, 2011 at Phoenix (5-2 win) and Jan. 20, 2011 at Colorado (5-1 win).
POWER PLAY MOVES UP THE RANKS
Nashville scored multiple power-play goals in a game for the fourth time this season on Saturday vs. Columbus, going two-for-two. The man-advantage unit has now gone 10-for-27 in the last nine games (37 percent) to rise to 11th in the power-play rankings (20 percent). The home power play has been even better, scoring in five consecutive games dating back to Feb. 25 – it has gone 7-for-16 since that date (43.8 percent) and is now ranked first in the NHL (29.6 percent).
TROTZ TIES REAY
Saturday’s win was the 516th of Head Coach Barry Trotz’s career, tying him with former Chicago Blackhawks benchboss Billy Reay (1963-77) for third on the NHL’s wins with one franchise list. The New York Islanders’ Al Arbour (1973-94) is first on the list with 740 wins, while long time Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff (1997-2013) is second with 578. The Dauphin, Man., native ranks 15th in all-time victories as well. Trotz is also third behind Arbour (1,500) and Ruff (1,180) on the games coached with one team list, having been behind Nashville’s bench for all 1,098 games played.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
After a road-heavy first 30 games, Nashville started a stretch of 12 home games in its last 18 contests of 2012-13 on March 21 against Calgary. The Predators have posted an 8-2-4 record on Bridgestone Arena ice this season, and have been one of the League’s best teams on home ice since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, compiling 189 home victories, third most in the NHL and just one behind San Jose for second. Nashville is the only team in the NHL to post at least 23 home victories in seven consecutive seasons.
The Preds have sold out a franchise-record 27 games dating back to March 6, 2012 vs. L.A. The team sold out the last eight games of 2011-12, all five 2012 playoff games, and the first 14 games of 2012-13 to bring the streak to 27.
LAST TIME OUT: Columbus 2 at Nashville 5
- Nashville improved to 20-0-2 in its last 22 games against Columbus at Bridgestone Arena.
- The Predators outshot their opponent (24-23) for a fourth straight game. Only five teams have allowed fewer shots per game (NSH 26.5 SA/G).
- Nashville is the only team without a regulation loss when scoring first, improving to 11-0-5 on the season. Similarly, the Predators are 7-0-3 when leading after the first period, and 7-0-1 when leading after the second.
- Also falling in the game was the record for fastest four goals by both teams combined, with four pucks (Weber, Umberger, Legwand, Halischuk) finding the back of the net within 1:54 (from 8:21 to 10:15) – previously the record was 2:03 on March 13, 2004. That same 1:54 span also represents the second fastest three goals by Nashville at home (fastest is 1:24 on Feb. 28, 2009).
- With a goal in the final frame, the Predators have scored in 11 consecutive third periods, amassing 15 goals in that span.
- Pekka Rinne earned the 150th win of his career. All but one of those wins have come since the start of the 2008-09 season, tied for sixth with Roberto Luongo in that span, one behind Ilya Bryzgalov for fifth and two behind Ryan Miller for fourth. Rinne leads the League in minutes played (1,678:55) and shutouts (5).
- Martin Erat posted a pair of assists, giving him five points (1g-4a) in two games.
- David Legwand scored, giving him eight points (4g-4a) in his last nine games. Prior to the current stretch, he had registered just two points (1g-1a) in his previous 10 outings. The goal moved him into sole possession of seventh in points among Michigan-born NHLers (516), passing Brian Rafalski.
- Matt Halischuk scored, giving him five points (2g-3a) in seven games since returning from a Conditioning Assignment with Milwaukee (AHL).
- Legwand (12-of-17) and Chris Mueller (12-of-18) were dominant in the faceoff circle. Mueller has now won 28 of his 41 faceoffs (68.3%) since being recalled on March 13. He also had an assist, giving him two points (1g-1a) in the last three games.
- Hal Gill returned to the Nashville lineup after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury; he had not played since Feb. 23 at Detroit. He was +2 with a blocked shot and one hit in 15:30 of ice time.
TONIGHT’S STORYLINES vs. EDMONTON
The Nashville Predators host the Edmonton Oilers on Monday for the third and final game between the teams during the 2012-13 regular season. Nashville won by a 6-0 score the last time the Oilers came to town on March 8, while Edmonton prevailed at Rexall Place, 3-2, last Sunday, March 17.
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). The 3-2 loss four games ago came despite a pair of points from Roman Josi (1g-1a) and a power-play goal by Shea Weber. Since the start of the 2006-07 season, Nashville is 18-7-1 against Edmonton, including a 9-4-0 mark at Bridgestone Arena.
Weber tied a personal best with three assists in the March 8 game, giving him seven points (2g-5a) in his last five outings against the Oilers. Weber’s .84 points per game against Edmonton for his career (9g-12a-21pts, 25gp) is second only to his output against Columbus for the highest against a single team… David Legwand scored in the 6-0 win over the Oilers, and has seen more offensive success against Edmonton than any other non-divisional opponent (14g-20a-34pts, 46gp)… 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.