Preview: Flyers at Predators (1/14)

Ilya Bryzgalov, Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen and the Philadelphia Flyers make their lone trip to Bridgestone Arena Saturday night.

Location: Bridgestone Arena

Game Time: 7:00 pm Central

TV: Fox Sports Tennessee

Radio: 102.5 The Game (WPRT-FM)

Nashville: 24-15-4 (52 points, 4th Central, 6th Western)
Philadelphia: 26-12-4 (56 points, 2nd Atlantic, 4th Eastern)

Familiar Faces Return: Saturday will mark only the second time that former Predators Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell return to Bridgestone Arena since being traded to the Flyers on June 18, 2007. Timonen, the captain when he was traded, was a day-one Predator and left the organization as the all-time leading scorer with 301 points (he has since been passed by David Legwand and Martin Erat). Hartnell was a home-bred fan favorite who scored 93 goals in his 436 games in a Preds sweater. Of the current active players, only David Legwand and Martin Erat have suited up more times than Hartnell did. Only Legwand and Erat have played in more Predators games than Timonen, who is still third on the all-time games played list. The Predators acquired a first-round pick in exchange for the rights to Hartnell and Timonen – it was the same pick they gave up to acquire Peter Forsberg. With that pick, they drafted Jonathon Blum.

One Goal: Saturday night’s matchup features two teams with a penchant for playing tight games. Nashville’s 3-2 overtime win over Colorado marked the team’s 23rd one-goal game of the season. Through the 23, the Predators are 13-5-4. The 13 wins are the 4th most in the NHL. The Flyers are tied for second with 14 one-goal wins and a record of 14-2-4. The Predators’ .591 winning percentage in one-goal contests is the league’s 8th best while the Flyers .700 is good enough for second.

Master of the Universe: Ilya Bryzgalov may have a new jersey, a new contract, be in a new conference and be known by a larger legion of fans, but he is still the same goaltender that has repeatedly stood up to the Predators at Bridgestone Arena while a member of the Phoenix Coyotes. In two games in Nashville last year, Bryzgalov finished with a 1-1 record and a .926 save percentage. As a member of the Coyotes, Bryzgalov possessed a 2-3-2 record at Bridgestone, but had a .927 save percentage.  Including two games that he played with the Anaheim Ducks in Nashville, Bryzgalov is 3-3-3 all-time in Bridgestone Arena with a .913 save percentage.

Central Domination: As evidence of the division’s domination of the league through the first half of the season, the Predators sit second-to-last in the division, but sit 6th overall in the conference. In fact, if the Predators had managed to pick up another point somewhere down the line, 4 of the top 5 records in the Western Conference would belong to Central Division teams. Nashville trails Chicago by 5, St. Louis by 4 and Detroit by 3.

Spals to the Wall: The Nashville Predators are 12-0-1 all-time when Nick Spaling tallies a goal. Spaling has only played once against the Flyers and has  0 points with a -1.

Forward Scoring Droughts: Jerred Smithson, who has been out all week, has not registered a goal in his last 37 games. Colin Wilson has not not scored in his last 10.  Mike Fisher has not scored a goal in his last 8. Jordin Tootoo has not scored in his last 6. Brian McGrattan has not put a puck in the net in 27 games as a Predator and last scored 59 games ago while a member of the Calgary Flames.

Quick Notes: The Predators’ sellout streak ended at 8. Thursday night’s game was a mere 200 tickets short of being the team’s 9th straight sellout…Nashville has won 6 of its last 7 games and 12 of its last 16…The Predators are 4-2-2 against the Eastern Conference this season…The Predators are 2-2-2 against the Flyers, all-time in Bridgestone Arena.

Tags: , ,

A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.