CALGARY, AB -- After a disappointing 14th place finish in the shortened season a year ago, the Nashville Predators appear to be on a similar track in 2013-14.
The Predators sit sixth in the Central Division and 11th overall in the Western Conference near the midway mark of the season, rankings they’ll need to improve upon in order to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12.
This Season: 19-21-7, 45 points (11th in West)
Last Season: 16-23-9, 41 points (14th in West)
Notable Additions: RW Viktor Stalberg, C Matt Cullen, LW/RW Eric Nystrom, LW/RW Matt Hendricks, G Carter Hutton, D Bryan Rodney
Notable Subtractions: LW Sergei Kostitsyn, RW/LW Brandon Yip, RW/LW Matt Halischuk, D Hal Gill, D T.J. Brennan, RW Bobby Butler, C/W Chris Mueller, D Jonathan Blum
Injuries: Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (hip infection) remains on injured reserve.
Flames Season Series Record: 0-0-0
Though he’s been held pointless in his past two outings, Weber has seven points in his past seven games and 16 in his past 16 games. The Predators defenceman is third on the Predators in goals with 10, while his 19 assists are second. Overall, the 28-year-old leads Nashville with 29 points in 44 games.
Though his 28 points are second only to Weber on the team, Legwand hasn’t found the scoresheet in three straight and has just three points over his past 13 games. The first pick in Predators franchise history does lead the team with 21 assists, though.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jones, the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft, has blossomed as a 19-year-old in the National Hockey League. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder is second among rookie defencemen with four goals and 17 points. He’s also third among all first-year players in average ice time, skating an incredible 20:59 per game.
Smith, selected in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, is having a career year for the Predators. The 24-year-old leads Nashville with 13 goals, one off his career best set two seasons ago over 77 games. His 27 points in 44 games are more than double that Smith recorded in the same span last season, too.
With Rinne sidelined for most of the season, Mazanec has carried the majority of the load for the Predators. The 22-year-old product of Pisek, Czech Republic has posted an 8-10-4 record with a 2.80 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.