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02-04-2006, 11:57 AM
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Game Day Notes from NP.COM

The Nashville Predators face the Central Division rival Chicago Blackhawks tonight in the fifth of eight meetings this season and the third of four tilts at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Nashville is unbeaten in its last seven games (6-0-1) vs. Chicago dating back to March 1, 2004. The Predators are 17-16-4 all-time vs. the Blackhawks and 9-6-3 at the GEC.

The Predators jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period en route to a 5-3 win over the Blackhawks on October 25 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. On December 15, five different Predators scored and goaltender Pekka Rinne made 36 saves in his first NHL start, a 5-3 Predators' victory at the GEC. Paul Kariya led the way with two goals and an assist and Ryan Suter scored his first career NHL goal as Nashville downed Chicago 6-1 on December 21 at the United Center. On January 8 at the United Center, Yanic Perreault scored two goals and Steve Sullivan scored his first career penalty-shot goal in the Predators' 5-1 victory.

Nashville snapped a three-game losing streak and hit the 70-point mark with a 4-3 overtime win vs. the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. The Predators trailed the Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings by five points heading into today's NHL action. The Red Wings were in Colorado today for an afternoon tilt vs. the Avalanche. The Predators will face the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on Monday before beginning a home-and-home back-to-back series vs. the Red Wings on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

Tonight is the second game of a season-high six-game road trip for Chicago. The Blackhawks are coming off a 6-5 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Nashville is 14-2-1 vs. the Central Division this season… The Predators have two straight overtime wins after losing their first three overtime decisions this season… The Predators have not given up a power-play goal in their last two games, killing off 15 straight penalties… Steve Sullivan's overtime game-winning goal on Thursday night vs. Colorado was his 26th goal of the season, tying him with Cliff Ronning (26 in 1999-2000) for the franchise record for goals in a season. Sullivan, who leads the team in goals and ranks second in scoring with 47 points (26g-21a-47pts), also picked up an assist on Scott Walker's first goal, marking his 13th multi-point game of the season… Walker posted a two-goal game for the second time in his last nine games and helped the Predators improve to 14-3-3 with him in the lineup… Tomas Vokoun continues to rank among NHL leaders in wins (26), goals-against average (2.62) and save percentage (.917) after turning away a season-high 43 shots vs. the Avalanche… Mike Sillinger scored his first goal as a Predator on Thursday, giving him 12 points (9g-3a) in his last nine games… Paul Kariya, who leads the team in scoring (17g-34a-51pts), is currently on a three-game point streak (4a) and has 17 points (5g-12a) in his last 15 games… Martin Erat is on a three-game point streak (1g-2a-3pts) and has eight points (5g-3a) in his last eight contests… Yanic Perreault extended his point streak to three games (1g-2a-3pts) on Thursday and now has 13 points (6g-7a) in his last 13 tilts.

The Predators' win on Thursday was their 20th of the season at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Nashville has gone 20-5-1 at the GEC this season, earning 41 of a possible 52 points. The Predators are tied for second in the NHL in wins on home ice (only Carolina has more with 23) and with 15 home games remaining, Nashville is just two wins away from tying the franchise record for home wins in a season. The Predators went 22-10-9 at home in 2003-04 and made their first Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance that season.

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