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Ducks continue trip with a stop in Nashville

by Deborah Francisco

DUCKS (5-3-1) AT PREDATORS (4-4-1)


Season Series: This is the first of four meetings between the Ducks and Predators this season -- and it's the first since the Predators eliminated the Ducks in six games in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last spring. The Predators also won three of four regular-season meetings last season.

Big Story: This will be the Ducks first chance to avenge their early exit from the playoffs last season after the Predators beat them to win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.

Team Scope:

Ducks: After opening the season 5-1-0, the Ducks dropped the next two contests before embarking on a 13-day, seven-game trip. So far they are 1-1-0 after edging the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Thursday night -- a contest in which the Ducks' big guns led the team to victory.

Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf each converted on the power play and Teemu Selanne notched three helpers to lift the Ducks past the Wild and to snap a three-game winless skid. The improvement on the man-advantage comes as a relief to the Ducks who had started 4 for 35 on the power play.

"We scored. That's improving," Perry said of Thursday's win.

However, the Ducks are not concerned about the sluggish start and are ready to pace themselves in the 82-game season.

"We've started every season the last couple pretty slow. Come February or March where you're battling for the playoffs, when you get these points this early it's not such a battle," Getzlaf said.

Predators: The Predators rode their biggest offensive night of the season to their first home win, a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. The best news was that center Mike Fisher, who was playing just his second game after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, had two goals and an assist. He has four points in his two games.

"It definitely feels good," Fisher said. "I've been out for a long time, but fortunately I have been able to skate a lot and get my legs going. I've been the recipient of some great plays too and that helps a lot."

Who's Hot: Teemu Selanne leads the Ducks with nine points in as many games.

Injury Report: Ducks forward Devante Smith-Pelly was scratched for the second straight game on Thursday. He's been hampered by flu-like symptoms… Martin Erat (upper body) and Roman Josi (wrist) are day-to-day for the Predators.

Stat Pack: Selanne's last three-assist game prior to Thursday came last Feb. 11 at Calgary.

Puck Drop: Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne is one away from 100 career wins. A victory on Saturday would make him the second goaltender in four days to reach the 100-win mark -- Montreal's Carey Price got his 100th on Wednesday.

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