Nashville, TN – The Nashville Predators will host the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night at the Bridgestone Arena at 7:00pm. This is the third of four games at home for Nashville, marking the fifth time in the last six years the Predators have played on Valentines Day.
Nashville went to extra time with San Jose for the third straight game and sixth time in the last eight outings on Tuesday night. The Predators – who have needed extra time seven times – defeated an opponent in the overtime period for the first time this season. David Legwand earned his franchise-record 17th overtime point (9g-8a) with an assist on Colin Wilson’s overtime goal. Ryan Ellis earned his first-career overtime point with his assist on Wilson’s goal. Kevin Klein led the team with four shots and four blocked shots on the night. He has also registered a +7 rating through his last nine games. The Predators have now earned at least a point in 10-of-13 games (6?3?4) this season.
With the shutout, Nashville saw its goals against drop to 1.77 per game, good for second in the NHL behind Ottawa (1.69). Nashville
has not allowed a first period goal in six straight outings. Tuesday night was the 10th time in franchise history the team has been shorthanded six-or-more times in a period, and first since Nov. 16th, 2010 in the second period of a 5-4 loss at Toronto; it was the first time since Feb. 2nd, 2006 in the first period of a 4-3 win vs. Colorado that the Predators have killed off six or more penalties.
Martin Erat picked up eight minutes in penalties in the second period, matching his career-high for a single game (Jan. 17th, 2008 vs. Anaheim). The Predators were perfect on the penalty kill (6?for?6) and have not allowed a power-play goal on home ice in three straight games. Nashville has killed off 34-of-39 (87.2 percent) penalties in its last nine games and now ranks 11th in the League (84.0 percent).
Pekka Rinne recorded his second shutout in his last three starts by turning aside all 25 San Jose Shark shots he faced on Tuesday night, bringing his career total up to 27 – the most in the NHL since 2008-09. The Kempele, Finland native is 5-1-0 in his last six outings, stopping 161 of 167 shots for a .964 save percentage and a 0.97 goals-against average. Only three of those six goals against have been at even strength, and Rinne has now allowed one goal or fewer in five of the Predators’ 13 games. Overall, Rinne is fifth in save percentage (.934) and sixth in goals-against average (1.75) among starting netminders. His 686:30 played is the fourth highest total in the League.
The Predators and Coyotes meet for the second of three times in 2012-13 Thursday at Bridgestone Arena, with the Coyotes taking the first meeting of the season, 4-0, on Jan. 28th in the desert. The Phoenix win marked the first time in seven games that the home team has won when these teams have hooked up – the visitors won all four games of the 2011-12 season series and the final two games of 2010-11.
Nashville’s two wins last season came on March 12th, 2012, when it pulled out a 5-4 shootout win, and on Nov. 3rd, 2011, Pekka Rinne – celebrating his 29th birthday – signed a seven-year contract in the afternoon, then capped off the day by shutting out the Coyotes, 3-0. That victory gave Rinne four career shutouts against the Coyotes – more than he has against any other team.
Mike Fisher is averaging a point per game against Phoenix during his career with 13 points (6g-7a) in 13 games. Martin Erat led all Predators with four points (1g-3a) against Phoenix last season. He leads Nashville all-time with 26 points (10g-16a) in 36 games vs. the Coyotes.
Patric Hornqvist has 10 points (6g-4a) in 12 career contests vs. Phoenix. David Legwand (3a), Sergei Kostitsyn (3a) and Craig Smith (1g-2a) all had three points in four games vs. the Coyotes in 2011-12. Rinne is 8-6-1 with a 2.18 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and four shutouts in 15 career games against Phoenix.
Nashville has been one of the League’s best teams on home ice since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, compiling 183 home victories, tied for fourth and just two wins shy of third place. The Predators are 2-1-2 at Bridgestone Arena in 2012-13 with only Los Angeles and Chicago having played fewer games on home ice. Nashville is also the only team in the NHL to post at least 23 home victories in seven consecutive seasons.
SectionsAnnouncements, Featured Story, Hockey, Nashville Predators, NHL, Sports
TopicsBridgestone Arena, Colin Wilson, Colorado, Craig Smith, David Legwand, kempele finland, Kevin Klein, los angeles, Martin Erat, Mike Fisher, Nashville, Nashville Predators, Nashville TN, NHL, ottawa, patric hornqvist, Pekka Rinne, phoenix coyotes, Predators, ryan ellis, san jose, San Jose Sharks, Sergei Kostitsyn, Shootout, toronto, Valentines Day
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