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Ducks back home to host Predators

by John Kreiser

PREDATORS (7-5-2) at DUCKS (5-6-3)

TV: NHLN-Canada; FS-Tennessee (HD); PRIME (HD)

Last 10: Nashville 5-4-1; Anaheim 2-5-3

Season Series: It's the second of four meetings this season. The Ducks visited Nashville during their just-completed seven-game trip and were blanked 3-0 on Oct. 29. It's the first visit by the Predators to Anaheim since Game 5 of last spring's playoffs, which Nashville won on the way to a six-game opening-round victory.

Team Scope:

Predators: While the Ducks are just back from a long trip, the Predators are finishing one -- this is the finale of a five-game swing on which they've gone 2-1-1 so far.

Nashville overcame a bad start in Los Angeles on Tuesday to pull even at 2-2, but allowed goals by Mike Richards and Simon Gagne in a 3:05 span midway through the second period and wound up with a 4-3 loss.

"I knew the start was going to be critical," coach Barry Trotz said, "and we got off to a terrible start."

Anders Lindback made 26 saves in his first start of the season, meaning the Pekka Rinne should be in goal -- he had been the only goaltender in the League to start all of his team's games before getting the night off in L.A.

Ducks: After a 1-3-3 trip that ended with a 5-0 wipeout in Detroit on Saturday, the Ducks are glad to be home -- they have 11 of their next 13 games at Honda Center. Anaheim and Winnipeg, which concluded a seven-game trip on Tuesday, have played a League-low four home games.

"It's nice to be back," forward Bobby Ryan told the team's Web site. "Trips like that are an absolute nightmare. We were just starting to recover and get back to normal from Europe and you have to go do that. It makes it tough to be successful. We need to play the brand of hockey that we're accustomed to. We can get back to it, put that in the past and move on. The good thing is it's early in the year and plenty of time to make up some ground here."

Who's Hot: Patric Hornqvist's goal on Tuesday made him the third player in Nashville history to score in six consecutive games. … The Ducks have scored just once in their last two games; however, 41-year-old Teemu Selanne is still scoring at a point-a-game pace (14 points in 14 games).

Injury Report: Kevin Klein (ankle) and Sergei Kostitsyn (lower body) didn't play Tuesday and are day-to-day for the Predators. Nick Spaling (lower body) is out. … Anaheim will be without forward George Parros for four weeks after he underwent eye surgery. Jason Blake is still sidelined due to a severe wrist cut last month.

Stat Pack: Since Randy Carlyle took over as Anaheim's coach in 2005, the Ducks have finished below 15th in the NHL in goals just once (2007-08). They enter this game last in goals per game at 1.86. Part of the problem is a power play that has converted just 13.2 percent of its opportunities, 26th in the NHL.

Puck Drop: Carlyle says his team has to get off to better beginnings. They were outplayed badly on Thursday in New York and Saturday in Detroit.

"We are going to focus on our start," he told the team's Web site. "That is an area where we haven't done a very good job. If you look at any team in the League, the team's scoring the first goal are winning (a majority) of the games. We have to get off to a decent start feel comfortable in our building."

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