Tonight the Nashville Predators play their first road game of the 2007 playoffs, traveling to San Jose for a 9:00 p.m. CT Game 3 showdown with the Sharks. The teams split the first two games of the series in Nashville. Games 3 and 4 will take place at HP Pavilion at San Jose and Game 5 will be back at Nashville Arena.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on FSN South and WGFX 104.5-FM locally. Cable network Versus will carry the game nationally (game will be blacked out on Versus locally) in the U.S. and TSN will carry the game in Canada.
After the Sharks took a 1-0 series lead with a double-overtime win in Game 1, Nashville answered back with a decisive 5-2 win on Friday. Predators rookie Alexander Radulov, who has three goals and one assist in the first two games, will sit out Game 3 after being suspended for checking Steve Bernier from behind in Friday's game. The roster spot opened up by Radulov's absence will likely be filled by Predators forward Darcy Hordichuk, who will see his first action of the series according to comments by team head coach Barry Trotz Sunday.
J.P. Dumont has been the other hot hand for Nashville, scoring two goals in each of the two games. Peter Forsberg also scored twice in Game 2, building on an assist in Game 1.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this series is the NHL's best first-round postseason matchup in 17 years (statistically speaking). Nashville ranked third in the NHL with 110 points this season; San Jose ranked fifth with 107. The last first-round matchup of teams that both ranked among the league's top five in points was Buffalo (98 points, third in NHL) vs. Montreal (93 points, fourth) in 1990. Montreal won that series in six games but was eliminated by the Bruins in the conference semifinals. The Sharks went 7-0-1 in their final eight home games, and ended the season with a 25-12-4 home record. Nashville, meanwhile, was 23-15-3 on the road.
Nashville is 1-1 in playoff Game 3's all-time, 0-1 when playing Game 3 on the road... Nashville posted a record of 23-15-3 on the road in 2006-07, including a mark of 1-1-0 at H.P. Pavilion... Nashville's 4-3 shootout win at San Jose on Feb. 28, 2007 ended a five-game regular-season winless skid for the Predators at H.P. Pavilion and, including two playoff losses last year, a seven-game stretch altogether... Dating back to the third period of Game 1, Nashville has scored seven of the last 10 goals in the series.
J.P. Dumont scored two goals in both Game 1 and Game 2 of the WCQ vs. San Jose, and including a two-goal performance in the Predators' regular-season finale (April 7 at Colorado), he has six goals in his last three games... Dumont is the first player to score twice in the first two games of the postseason since his current teammate Peter Forsberg scored in the first two games of the postseason for Colorado in April 1998... His four goals have already made Dumont the most prolific goal-scorer in franchise playoff history. Prior to this season, Adam Hall led the franchise with three playoff goals... Forsberg also scored twice in Game 2. Individual Nashville Predators had not posted a multi-goal game in 11 playoff matches entering this season. Nashville has four (Dumont with two, Forsberg and Alexander Radulov) in the first two games of the WCQ... Radulov has been suspended for one game for a hitting-from-behind incident involving San Jose forward Steve Bernier in Game 2. Radulov will miss tonight's game and be eligible to return for Game 4... Defenseman Marek Zidlicky tallied two assists in Game 2, marking his first post-season multi-point effort... Center David Legwand led all forwards in Game 2 with 21:32 of ice time, including a team-high 6:17 while killing penalties... Defenseman Ryan Suter blocked a game-high four shots in Game 2.