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Hiller returns to goal for Ducks after 'mental rest'

by Curtis Zupke /

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks will go back to goaltender Jonas Hiller Friday against the Nashville Predators.

It wasn't much of a surprise given Hiller has had three games off, but there was some thought the Ducks might continue to ride rookie backup Frederik Andersen, who went 3-0-0 in place of Hiller and is 19-5-0.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau wanted to give Hiller time off and felt he was ready after a high-energy practice Thursday.

"We were thinking that he just needed a mental rest, not a physical rest," Boudreau said. "He'll be back in. He's been very sharp in practice the last two games. We're expecting a big game from him tonight."

Boudreau will add an offensive wrinkle to Anaheim's game plan. Right wing Teemu Selanne and center Saku Koivu took line rushes together, along with left wing Andrew Cogliano. The two Finns were paired when Koivu first signed with Anaheim in 2009, but the chemistry never really materialized like it had in international competition.

Boudreau, asked about his expectations of the duo, said, "I expect them to play good."

Forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and defenseman Francois Beauchemin did not skate Friday but are expected to play. Defenseman Mark Fistric has been dealing with a lower-body nerve injury since March 15 but is expected to be back in the coming days.

"Come Friday or Saturday, we'll be reconditioning him and he should be fine," Boudreau said.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz ruled out defenseman Seth Jones and center Paul Gaustad, who are out with a concussion and an upper-body injury, respectively.

"They're doing good," Trotz said. "I expect them to play [Saturday at the San Jose Sharks]."

Trotz confirmed goalie Pekka Rinne will start. Rinne is one win away from tying Tomas Vokoun's franchise record of 161. After missing 51 games with a hip injury, Rinne is still looking to find consistency in his game, something his coach addressed after practice.

"There are nights Pekka Rinne will be the Pekka Rinne of old, and there's other nights he won't be as good as he can be and has been," Trotz said. "It's a difficult position for him to be in. It's no disrespect. He cares so much and tries so hard that sometimes it works against him because he gets frustrated because he has very high expectations. … I expect him to just battle through because, to me, he's an ultimate pro."

Here are the projected lineups for the Predators and Ducks:


Matt CullenMike FisherPatric Hornqvist

Gabriel BourqueCalle JarnkrokCraig Smith

Nick SpalingColin WilsonViktor Stalberg

Rich CluneColton SissonsEric Nystrom

Roman JosiShea Weber

Michael Del ZottoVictor Bartley

Mattias EkholmRyan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Injured: Seth Jones (concussion), Paul Gaustad (upper body), Patrick Eaves (lower body)


Nick BoninoRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Teemu SelanneSaku KoivuAndrew Cogliano

Patrick MaroonMathieu PerreaultKyle Palmieri

Daniel WinnikRickard RakellTim Jackman

Francois BeaucheminStephane Robidas

Hampus Lindholm - Ben Lovejoy

Bryan AllenLuca Sbisa

Jonas Hiller

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Matt Beleskey, Sami Vatanen

Injured: Cam Fowler (knee), Mark Fistric (lower body), Sheldon Souray (wrist)

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