Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day Games Have Not Been Kind to the Predators

Late this afternoon, the eyes of the entire NHL will be focused on Bridgestone Arena when the Calgary Flames will take on the Nashville Predators in the only game being played on New Year's Day in the league. The game will be seen across the United States the NHL Network as well as FS-TN in Nashville and SportsNet in Canada.

With the 2012 Winter Classic and other traditional New Year's sports offerings being pushed to Monday, due to conflicts with NFL programming, the Predators will host the opening game for 2012 with all the firsts that come with it (first goal, first win, etc.).

The game will mark the tenth time in thirteen seasons that the Predators have hosted a New Year's Day game. The date has not been kind to the Preds as they have gone 2-6-(1)-0 over the years. Here is a list of opponents and outcomes from each year...

New Year’s Day Games

1999 vs. St. Louis L, 5-6
2000 vs. San Jose W, 3-2
2001 vs. Vancouver L, 2-5
2002 vs. Colorado T, 4-4
2003 vs. Colorado L, 3-7
2004 vs. Pittsburgh W, 3-2
2006 vs. Anaheim L, 2-4
2007 vs. Colorado L, 3-5
2009 vs. Vancouver L, 1-2
2012 vs. Calgary ???

In the early years, Pepsi One was a sponsor of the game with various logo-ed pucks, T-shirts, and other novelties being distributed.

On January 1, 2000 when folks were expecting a major meltdown world wide due to computer programming glitches, the Predators were undaunted, both on an off the ice. The team beat the Sharks 3-2 for one of only two first day wins.

Off the ice, the team collected items of the era to be placed in a time capsule to be opened on 1/1/2050. We personally contributed some drawings from then seven year old Fisher, and five year old Jackson, as well as a few early edition Pokemon cards to be saved for posterity.

The Predators other New Year's day win was in 2004 when the team came from behind to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. All three goals were on the power play, with two by Kimmo Timonen and the third from a youthful Marty Erat. Tomas Vokoun was the winner in net.

The Pred's last foray on January 1 was in 2009 when Jason Jaffray scored with 4:06 left in the contest to break a 1-1 tie and give Vancouver a win over the Preds in Jason LaBarbara's first start with the Canucks. Pekka Rinne took the loss.

The Predators hope to improve on their New Year's record when they face Calgary this evening. This will be the fourth and final meeting between the Preds and Flames this year with Nashville haven taken two of three so far.

The teams split in Calgary, with the Preds winning 2-0 on October 22 in Rinne's first win in his career over fellow Finn, Miikka Kiprusoff. Calgary got retribution on November 29 with a 1-0 victory at home. The Preds broke the tie with a 2-1 win in Nashville on December 13.

After a long period of frustration against the Flames, Rinne (18-10-4, 2.58, .920) is 2-1-0, .67, .980 against Calgary this year. Kiprosoff (17-12-0, 2.40, .918) had a rare night off in the game in Ottawa on Friday but is expected back in net today.

After the game with the Flames, the Predators will have three days between games for the first time since the opening week of the season and will return to action on Thursday against the Dallas Stars.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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