Keys to Watch
First Extended Road Trip
For the first time this season, the Nashville Predators will be taking an extended road trip as they head west for the next ten days. In this span, the Preds will play five matches (Ducks, Kings, Sharks, Avalanche, Coyotes). The Preds open up their road trip tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. With their first meeting since Game Seven of Round One of last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, the pace and intensity will be at an optimum. These two teams do not like each other and the play on the ice shows. The Predators will have to pace themselves, not overuse Rinne, and make it back to Nashville unscathed by the injury bug after completion of this road trip.
A Feeble Offense
One major dilemma this season for the Anaheim Ducks has been their offensive production. Currently, the Ducks are ranked 28th in the NHL with only 2.14 goals scored per game, 22nd on the power-play with a conversion of 13.0% with a man-advantage, and 18th in shots per game at 29.1. With a veteran presence in Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, and Ryan Getzlaf, the thought would be their offense could be top five in the NHL. This team has the potential to be an unstoppable force, but hasn’t put it together this season. The Nashville Predators defense needs to take advantage of this down offense and capitalize with a win tonight.
Another struggle for the Anaheim Ducks is that they are starting this season with multiple players on injury reserve and others that are dealing with day-to-day injuries. The top of their injury list is captain Ryan Getzlaf. Getzlaf is currently day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He left the Duck’s game on Tuesday night and will be a game time decision. Jonathan Bernier is also day-to-day with an upper body injury. Anaheim has three players on IR, two of which are suffering from concussion-like symptoms (Nic Kerdiles, Simon Despres) and Nate Thompson is suffering from an Achilles injury. Needless to say, the Ducks will be looking for secondary players to contribute, especially if Getzlaf and Bernier are unable to compete.
Tonight, the Predators look to get a positive start tonight against a heated playoff rival in the Anaheim Ducks. Be sure to catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops tonight at 9:30, so stay up late with the Predators!