ANAHEIM, Calif. – Paul Gaustad will return to the lineup for the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
Gaustad said he’s fit to go after he missed the previous three games with an upper-body injury. He is expected to take his center spot on the fourth line against the Anaheim Ducks.
“It’s good to be back tonight,” Gaustad said. “It wasn’t too long, and it’s good to be a contributor again.”
Nashville gets back one of the top faceoff men in the League and a key penalty killer. Coach Barry Trotz likened it to Vancouver Canucks faceoff ace Manny Malhotra.
“You can dictate where you’re putting the puck and hopefully if you have it, you’re getting out of your zone," Trotz said. "The great thing about 'Goose' is that he’s good on the left, but he’s one of the few guys that switches over the right and takes the right-hand draw.”
Fasth to start?
Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was non-committal on whether goalie Viktor Fasth would make his NHL debut Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.
“I’ll have to go check and see what the goalie coach says,” Boudreau said, in reference to Ducks goaltending consultant Pete Peeters.
Jonas Hiller played Friday in a 5-0 loss to Vancouver. Three of those goals came on Vancouver power plays, but Hiller looked shaky on even-strength goals by Aaron Volpatti and Mason Raymond.
The Swedish Elite League’s Goaltender of the Year the past two seasons, Fasth was signed last May to be Hiller’s backup. His season was interrupted in November because of hip and groin issues and he was sent to the AHL to get playing time earlier this month.
Boudreau has previously suggested that he would like to split the goalie starts in back-to-back situations. The Ducks had an optional skate and, for what it’s worth, Fasth came off the ice first.
Speaking generally on how he manages the starts, Boudreau said, “You do it on feel. You can script out the first five games on who is going to play. But we’ll see how it works out. Viktor played three games last week in the American [Hockey] League last week, so it’s not like he’s totally rusty.”
Colin Wilson – Mike Fisher – Martin Erat
Gabriel Bourque – David Legwand – Patric Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn – Nick Spaling – Craig Smith
Rich Clune – Paul Gaustad – Brandon Yip
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Hal Gill – Ryan Ellis
Kevin Klein – Scott Hannan
Scratched: Jonathon Blum, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk
Kyle Palmieri – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan – Nick Bonino – Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano – Saku Koivu – Daniel Winnik
Matt Beleskey – Peter Holland – Brad Staubitz
Toni Lydman – Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler – Bryan Allen
Luca Sbisa – Sheldon Souray
Scratches: Jordan Hendry, Devante Smith-Pelly, Rickard Rakell