Dumont stepping forward for Preds

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 1:21am

The Nashville Predators may be dealing with a slight scoring slump, but they can’t point a finger at right winger J.P. Dumont.

He was credited with two assists in the 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, extending his points streak to eight consecutive games as he heads into tonight’s meeting with the Calgary Flames at 7 at the Sommet Center.

During the eight-game stretch, Dumont has six goals and six assists. He has matched his career record for consecutive games with a point set during the 2001-2002 season when he played for the Buffalo Sabres.

“J.P.’s leadership is coming to the forefront,” said Predators coach Barry Trotz. “We are in a critical time. We have some guys out. We are pushing to try to get ourselves back in contention.

“He has really stepped up. He is participating and getting could results. The last game is a statement of what he is doing.”

Dumont’s point’s streak is the third-longest active streak in the NHL.

“He is really moving his feet now and that is a big thing for J.P.” said Trotz. “J.P. is doing the hard things. He is going to the net and moving his feet.

“He is playing well without the puck. He has been stronger on the wall. A lot of the aspects of his game are generated from him moving his feet and being acutely aware that he has to do that.”

PEVERLEY RECALLED: Center Rich Peverley has been recalled from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

Peverley leads Milwaukee in scoring with 38 points (9g-29a) in 36 games, including seven points (2g-5a) in his last four games. Peverley has already appeared in five NHL games with Nashville this season from Oct. 27 vs. Florida to Nov. 4 at Chicago, averaging 5:25 minutes of ice time.

In a related move, the Predators placed forward Jordin Tootoo on the injured reserve list on Monday. He is sidelined for the next one-to-three weeks with a hip flexor.

SUTER IS BACK: Defenseman Ryan Suter was back on the ice for the Predators in the Chicago game after missing the last two games as a healthy scratch and three of the last four games. Suter was out on the ice for 24 shifts, 18:22 total.

Defenseman Kevin Klein, who played a career-high 20:10 at Columbus Saturday night, sat out the Chicago game to make room for Suter.

“It was a much better effort by Suter,” said Trotz. “I thought his battle skills were very good. I thought he distributed the puck very well.

“He recognized danger and played a real smart game. It was much more consistent. He was a lot more aware of everything around him. He participated at a high level.”

Trotz made the decision to return Suter to the lineup after watching him elevate his game in practice.

“Ryan made a statement in practice that he was committed to doing the things that he needed to do,” Trotz said. “Now he has to continue to do that.

“I took Kevin out, but I am very happy with Kevin. He has been playing very, very well. We are trying to keep everybody going. We are going to need everybody.”

GOALS GETTING TOUGHER: As the season progresses, scoring goals usually gets more difficult.

“When you start the season you are trying to put yourself in a good position so you play a little looser,” said Dumont. “In the second half you are battling for a playoff spot. A lot of teams are in a playoff mode already.

“Games are going to be tight scores. You don’t take as many chances. And that is normal.”

Dumont thinks the Predators have what it takes offensively to work themselves back into contention.

“When we play well for 60 minutes and don’t sit back, we can score goals,” Dumont. “We have to get in front of the net and get ready to score off of the rebounds. That is the game we have to play.”

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