Tonight’s contest against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena marks the final game for the Ducks before the Olympic break. And after going just 1-4-0 on their recent five-game homestand, entering the break on a high note will be on the forefront of everyone’s minds.
“We’ve got to be ready,” said Matt Beleskey. “We’re on a bit of a slide and there’s nothing we want more than to finish this thing off with a win going into the break. It’s going to be a good test.”
Beleskey says he doesn’t want the black cloud of a four-game losing streak hovering over his head for the next three weeks.
“You want to go into it confident,” he said. “You want to ease your mind a little. I don’t want to spend three weeks thinking about a four-game losing streak.
“I want to think about that one win before. We’re just going to come out hard and be ready to play.”
Teemu Selanne will not play in tonight’s game against the Predators. The 43-year-old, who will be skating in his sixth Olympics, stayed back in Southern California to rest before leaving for Sochi tomorrow.
BONINO IN NASHVILLE
Injured center Nick Bonino made the trip to Nashville, but his status for tonight remains uncertain. Bonino went through a hard practice on Thursday and said it was “a good day and another step forward.” Bonino also took part in Friday’s practice in Nashville and skated earlier this morning.
It’s been a career year for Bonino, who ranks third on the Ducks in scoring with 16 goals and 40 points. The 25-year-old center has also taken 881 faceoffs this season, the second-most on the team.
“We miss ‘Bones’ because he’s a big piece to the puzzle,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “Whether it’s solidifying the second line or the other lines, or the power play, it just fits. So in that regard, we miss him. But there’s no one player on this team that, if we lose, we should fall apart.”
Anaheim and Nashville play the second game of a three-game season series tonight at Bridgestone Arena. The Ducks are 31-18-7 vs. the Predators, including an 11-13-4 mark in Nashville. Anaheim has won four straight over Nashville, one shy of the club record (Mar. 5, 1999-Apr. 7, 2000). The Ducks earned a 4-3 in the series opener on Jan. 9 in Nashville, keyed by Teemu Selanne’s 109th career game-winning goal to match Brendan Shanahan for fifth on the all-time GWG list. The season series will conclude on Apr. 4 at Honda Center.