After taking three of four on their homestand, the Ducks (6-3-0) begin a four-game road trip tonight against the Nashville Predators (4-3-1) at Bridgestone Arena. (5 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). It'll be a matchup between the league's best defensive club and one of the deadliest on offense.
The Ducks enter tonight's game leading the NHL in goals allowed per game (1.78) and fewest first-period goals allowed (three), and set a franchise record for fewest goals against through the first nine games (16), one fewer than the previous best in 2006-07. They also co-lead the NHL in third period GAA (0.44) and fewest third-period goals allowed (four).
Meanwhile, the Predators rank second in the NHL in goals per game (4.00) and tied for sixth in goals (32). They've scored at least four goals in five of their eight games this season, and at least five goals in four. Ryan Ellis is riding a four-game point streak and leads the team with 11 points (1g/10a) in eight games. The offensive defenseman has posted four consecutive multi-point games becoming the first Preds blueliner to do so since Mattias Ekholm last season. In his first season with the Predators after signing a seven-year contract in July, Matt Duchene has 10 points (2g/8a) in his first eight games, marking the quickest he's reached 10 points to start a season in his career. Sixteen of Nashville's 22 skaters that have played this season have recorded a point - even goaltender Pekka Rinne, who earned an assist in Nashville's 3-2 shootout loss on Saturday vs. Florida.
With that being said, the Ducks have scored 11 goals in their past three games, and have the fifth-most second-period goals this season (13). Jakob Silfverberg comes in riding a three-game goal streak and has eight points (5g/3a) in his last seven. Adam Henrique has four goals (and five points) in his last four games, while Rickard Rakell has six points (2g/4a) in his last five.
Bridgestone Arena has long been one of the toughest buildings to win in for visiting teams. The adage weathering the storm used to apply whenever a road club came to Nashville, but Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler says it's now about creating the storm. "We want to be aggressive," he said after the team's morning skate. "We think we're a team that can skate and put a lot of pressure on teams. When you go in with the midset of weathering the storm, you're kind of planting the seed that you're going to be receiving the game for a little bit. That's not something we want to do. We want to be on our toes early, try to take the play to them and make them adjust to us."
This is the opener of a three-game season series between the Ducks and Predators, and one of two in Nashville. The Ducks own a 40-25-8 all-time mark vs. the Preds, including a 13-8-5 record at Bridgestone Arena. They went 2-1-0 last season, including a 3-2 victory on March 12, 2019 at Honda Center. Ryan Getzlaf paces active Ducks in career scoring vs. Nashville with 44 points (14g/30a) in 40 games. Rakell is riding a six-game point streak (seven points, 3g/4a) along with 11 points (5g/6a) in his last 11 vs. Nashville, while Getzlaf (seven points, 3g/4a) and Hampus Lindholm (four points, 1g/3a) both have points in four of their last five.