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Rinne Returns Against Pittsburgh

Monday, 03.03.2014 / 11:59 AM

Jimi Russell - Nashville Predators

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Rinne Returns Against Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators

PENGUINS (40-16-4) AT PREDATORS (26-25-10)

TV: FOX Sports Tennessee (Dish: 446/HD: 9516; 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.

HE’S BACK
After missing 51 games due to an infection in his surgically repaired hip, goaltender Pekka Rinne will start for Nashville on Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rinne recently completed a two-game conditioning stint with the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals (Feb. 28-March 3). The Kempele, Finland won both outings, turning away 33-of-35 shots against to post a .99 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage.

In his last five NHL games prior to his injury, Rinne was 3-1-1 with a 1.60 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage – turning away 120-of-128 shots in those contests. The two-time Vezina Trophy finalist is just five wins shy of surpassing Tomas Vokoun's mark in all-time wins (157; Vokoun, 161), and has been among the League’s elite since becoming a full-time starter in 2008-09, ranking first in shutouts and among the Top 10 in wins, save percentage and goals-against average prior to his injury.

NORRIS CALIBER CAPTAIN
Shea Weber
has been the League’s top point-producing defenseman since Dec. 12, 2013, posting 27 points (8g-19a) in 30 games during that span.
• With his 10th multi-point game of the season last Thursday against Tampa Bay, Weber hit the 40-point mark for the fifth consecutive full season, and he ranks among the League’s Top Five defensemen in scoring (15g-25a-40pts).
• He is one of just three defensemen (Erik Karlsson (OTT) and P.K. Subban (MTL)) to lead their team in scoring.
• Weber ranks second among League defensemen in goals, while his nine power-play goals pace all blueliners and rank among the League’s Top 10 skaters.
• His team-leading 21 power-play points (9g-12a) are good for third among League defensemen and rank among the Top 15 skaters in the League.
• Eight of Weber’s 15 goals have come in the first period. The Preds are 11-1-2 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• Nine (3g-6a) of his 40 points have come on game-winning goals.
• Weber ranks fourth in the League in average ice time (26:50) and has played past the half-hour mark seven times.
• Weber leads his team and ranks eighth in the NHL in blocked shots (131). He also ranks second on the team in hits (118), making him the only player in the NHL this season with more than 100 hits, 100 blocked shots and 10 goals.
• Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, Weber ranks first among NHL defensemen in goals (98), second in points (261), first in power-play goals (45), first in game-winning goals (15) and eighth in hits (975).

PLAYER QUICK HITS
Roman Josi has 11 points (5g-6a) in his last 13 outings. He ranks second on the team and fifth among all League skaters in average ice time (26:18). The Bern, Switzerland native is one of just three blueliners in the NHL this season (Ryan Ellis and Kevin Shattenkirk), and one of three in franchise history, to record multiple shootout tallies.
Mike Fisher has points (1g-2a) in three straight games, and 19 points (9g-10a) in his last 23 outings. The Peterborough, Ont., native leads all Preds forwards in ice time (19:18) – more than two minutes higher than the next closest forward (Legwand, 17:12). Fisher is also leads team forwards in blocked shots (54) and ranks second hits (101).
Craig Smith has compiled seven points (2g-5a) in his last eight outings, and 21 points (12g-9a) in his last 27 games. The Madison, Wis., native set a career points high (18g-19a-37pts) last Thursday with an assist against Tampa Bay. Smith ranks first in goals, third in team scoring and second in shots (155). Twenty-one (9g-12a) of Smith’s 37 points have come on home ice, where he also paces the team with a +11 rating.
Seth Jones is fifth in points (5g-16a-21pts), first in games played (61) and third in average time on ice (20:48) among first-year defensemen. Jones also ranks among the League’s Top 10 rookie skaters in blocked shots (84), power-play points (8) and power-play goals (2).

TROTZ CLIMBS ALL-TIME LISTS
Barry Trotz, the only head coach the Nashville Predators have ever known, ranks 14th on the all-time coaching wins list (545). Trotz is now four wins shy of tying Marc Crawford for 13th all-time (549). The Dauphin, Manitoba, native is the longest tenured head coach in the NHL (1,175 games) and has the second-longest active tenure in all four major sports behind the San Antonio Spurs’ Head Coach Gregg Popovich. Trotz’s system has seen marked improvement over the past 10 seasons, as the Preds posted a 145-199-49-17 record through the club's first five seasons, and 380-251-11-74 in the 10 seasons since, in addition to posting a 21-21-7 record in the playoffs during that span.

TEAM QUICK HITS
• Nashville is 11-10-5 against the Eastern Conference this season.
• Nashville is now 20-6-2 when it scores a power-play goal, and 8-0-1 when it scores multiple power-play goals. Nashville’s power play ranks among the League’s Top 10 teams (seventh, 21 percent), while its home power play ranks fourth (23.2 percent). Shea Weber leads the team with 21 points (9g-12a) on the man advantage.
• The Preds have posted seven third-period goals in their last seven games. Nashville’s third-period goals helped it earn points in four of the seven games. The third period has been the Preds most productive this season (52 goals).
• Nashville ranks among the League’s Top 10 in average penalty minutes (seventh, 10). The Preds have also been shorthanded the fifth-fewest times in the League (185).
• Nashville has the youngest defensive corps in the League (24 years, 23 days). The only other team in the NHL with an average defensive age under 26 (including players on IR) is Columbus (25 years, 348 days).
• The Preds have not allowed a shorthanded goal since March 21, 2013, when Calgary scored two shorthanded – a span of 79 games. Nashville is the only team in the League not to have allowed a shorthanded goal this season.
• Nashville is first in the League in team face-off win percentage (53.4 percent). The Preds have been 50 percent or better in the faceoff circle in 47 of their 61 games.

LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 1, Winnipeg 3 at Bridgestone Arena
Simon Moser tallied his first NHL goal in the third period, making him the fourth Predator to tally their first NHL goal this season (Mattias Ekholm, Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones). Saturday’s marker gives him two points (1g-1a) in his last three outings.
Michael Del Zotto picked up his second point as a Predator with his assist on Moser’s goal. Both of Del Zotto’s points with Nashville have come against Winnipeg (two assists).
• The Preds penalty kill was perfect for the 33rd time this season after holding Winnipeg scoreless on their lone power-play opportunity.
• Nashville outshot Winnipeg 40-20 – the Preds largest shot advantage this season. It was also the fourth time Nashville has fired at least 40 shots on goal. Including misses and attempts blocked, Nashville directed 75 shots at the Winnipeg net. In the past three games, the Preds have bested their opponent by an average of 15.7 shots. Ryan Ellis, Patric Hornqvist and Craig Smith all tied for the team lead with a game-high six shots on goal.
• Nashville won the face-off battle 32-22, led by Paul Gaustad, who won 83 percent of his faceoffs (five-of-six).

STORYLINES VS. PITTSBURGH
The Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins close out their two-game season series on Tuesday night in the Music City. Nashville has garnered five of a possible 10 points in the past five contests between these two foes (2-1-1), and owns a 6-2-1 all-time record against the Penguins on home ice.

In their first meeting this season on Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh, the Preds jumped out to an early lead on Gabriel Bourque’s first-period goal, but the Penguins rattled off four straight goals to down the Preds 4-1 at Consol Energy Center.

These two teams last met in Nashville on Oct. 21, 2010, when extra time was need to decide a winner. David Legwand opened the scoring just 53 seconds into the game, but the teams traded goals in the second period to tie the game at two after 40 minutes. Patric Hornqvist restored the Preds lead five minutes into the third before Pittsburgh tied the game once again to force overtime. In the extra frame, a Kris Letang slap shot beat Pekka Rinne to take home the 4-3 win.

Legwand has amassed 10 points (7g-3a) in 13 contests vs. the Penguins… Shea Weber has four points (1g-3a) in six games vs. the Pens... Matt Cullen leads all Preds with 25 points (9g-16a) in 36 career games against Pittsburgh.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS VS. PITTSBURGH
Matt Cullen posted a career-high four assists on Dec. 15, 2002 vs. Pittsburgh.
Paul Gaustad recorded his first NHL goal on Oct. 10, 2005 vs. Marc-Andre Fleury.
Viktor Stalberg posted a career-high nine shots on goal on Dec. 20, 2011 at Pittsburgh.

15th ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
March 4, 2004: Hamhuis posts five points in road win at Pittsburgh; team scores six power-play goals

As a soft-spoken rookie, defenseman Dan Hamhuis let his play speak for itself in an early-Spring game in the Steel City, scoring the game-winning goal and adding four assists to set a record for points by a first-year player and tie a team mark for points in a game. The performance was part of nine-goal eruption for the Preds, which included a franchise-best six power play goals.

"For me, it's pretty surprising because I never really think about getting points," Hamhuis said. "It's funny how it kept going in and in and in. It's one of those nights when things are going your way. It's funny when it happens because it doesn't happen very often."

Marek Zidlicky kicked off the flurry of man-advantage goals, scoring just 55 seconds into the contest. The power play finished six-for-nine on the night, receiving a pair of man-advantage goals from Adam Hall, while Steve Sullivan collected a goal and two assists. It gave Sullivan seven goals and nine assists in just nine games after being acquired from Chicago a couple weeks earlier.

The 9-4 road victory was a crucial two points for the Predators in their drive to clinch the first playoff berth in franchise history.

2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 04 '14 PIT 3 at NSH 1 M. Niskanen
Nov 15 '13 NSH 1 at PIT 4 J. Neal
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
S. Crosby61295483+123695
E. Malkin50184361+155243
C. Kunitz61282856+2550126
J. Neal40222648+164183
J. Jokinen61162743+9643
M. Niskanen6192837+324336
O. Maatta6071825+131421
B. Sutter61101121+21211
P. Dupuis3971320+6800
K. Letang3410818-61461
J. Vitale4711213-22101
P. Martin3321012-1801
B. Orpik5311112+14200
T. Glass464711-77400
D. Engelland455510-55001
B. Gibbons224610+4210
C. Adams61358-113800
J. Megna24437+2202
C. Conner19415-3200
R. Bortuzzo38055-65900
S. Despres20044-11800
T. Pyatt39213-201611
B. Bennett12123+0000
C. Kobasew32202+11502
H. Zolnierczyk11202+0800
R. Scuderi32022-4000
D. Jeffrey10011-2200
M. D'Agostini8011-1400
A. Ebbett7011-1000
B. Dumoulin6011+1400
Z. Sill20000-41200
P. Samuelsson5000-1000
P. Letourneau-Leblond1000+0000
N. Drazenovic1000-1200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Fleury5032-14-311513662.32.916
J. Zatkoff129-2-1313412.64.909
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
S. Weber59152540-144493
D. Legwand62103040-83042
C. Smith59181937+51853
M. Fisher55161733-124842
P. Hornqvist57122032-102064
R. Josi5291726-131431
C. Wilson6171724-11722
N. Spaling53101323+31021
M. Cullen5761723-42611
S. Jones6251621-222021
G. Bourque5551217-8801
R. Ellis6031417+61601
E. Nystrom5911516-224901
V. Stalberg517916-122801
P. Gaustad628614-74200
M. Del Zotto5321113-51210
M. Ekholm42145-11600
F. Forsberg12145-8210
V. Bartley38055-21400
M. Hendricks44224-55400
R. Clune39213-612201
K. Klein47123-112100
S. Moser6112+0200
C. Sissons4011+2200
T. Beck7000-2600
J. Piskula2000+1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Hutton3214-10-4808212.85.903
D. Dubnyk3411-18-31039453.43.891
M. Mazanec258-10-4646502.80.902
P. Rinne104-5-1222482.39.911
M. Hellberg10-0-0145.00.750

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