Mighty Ducks-Predators Preview
GAME: Anaheim Mighty Ducks (17-15-6) at Nashville Predators (24-9-3).
TIME: Sunday, 8 p.m. EST.
It has been nearly a month since the Anaheim Mighty Ducks won consecutive games. It won't be easy to accomplish that Sunday when they face the Western Conference's best home team.
Anaheim kicks off the new year by continuing its five-game road trip against the Nashville Predators, who return home seeking their 17th win in 20 games at Gaylord Entertainment Center.
The Ducks have earned a split on the first two games of their road swing following a 5-4 shooutout win Saturday over the St. Louis Blues.
Rookie Chris Kunitz scored twice and had an assist in regulation before adding the lone goal in the shootout, lifting Anaheim to just its fourth road win in 16 games.
"Just having the chance to put it on the line at the end with the coach putting me out there was a lot of fun," Kunitz said. "We needed the two points anyway it came and it was a great way to get it."
The Ducks, however, haven't won consecutive games since a four-game winning streak Nov. 25-Dec. 3.
Nashville ended its season-high five-game road trip on a sour note, falling 5-2 Friday to Edmonton. The Predators won the first three games on the trip before losses to the Vancouver Canucks and Oilers.
Tomas Vokoun, trying to become the first goaltender this season to 20 wins, stopped 31 of 35 shots in the loss, failing to stop Edmonton's Ryan Smyth on a penalty shot.
The Predators have just one goal in their last 13 power-play opportunities over two games. They had scored seven power-play goals in 24 chances in the first three games of the road trip.
"It's been awful," said Nashville's Steve Sullivan. "Teams are starting to pressure us more than they used to."
Nashville, however, has scored a power-play goal in 11 of 12 home games since Nov. 8.
Former Duck Paul Kariya has been held without a point in the Predators' last two games after recording two goals and five assists in the previous three contests.
Nashville has two five-game and a pair of three-game winning streaks at home this season.
STANDINGS: Mighty Ducks - 40 points, 4th place, 12 PB, Pacific Division. Predators - 51 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Mighty Ducks - Teemu Selanne, 18 goals and 31 points; Scott Niedermayer, 21 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 78 PIM. Predators - Sullivan, 17 goals; Kariya and Kimmo Timonen, 22 assists; Sullivan and Kariya, 34 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 96 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Mighty Ducks - Power play: 14.9 percent (34 for 228), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.1 percent (197 for 237), 10th (tied). Predators - Power play: 18.8 percent (46 for 245), 8th. Penalty killing: 85.1 percent (206 for 242), 5th.
GOALTENDERS: Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (11-6-6, 0 SO, 2.79 GAA); Ilya Bryzgalov (6-9-0, 2.47). Predators - Vokoun (19-6-2, 1, 2.60); Chris Mason (4-2-1, 2.97).
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 1; Mighty Ducks, 4-1. At Anaheim, Calif., Andy McDonald scored his sixth goal in six games and linemate Selanne added two assists for the Ducks. Yanic Perreault scored his 200th career goal for Nashville.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mighty Ducks - 4-9-3 on the road; Predators - 16-3-0 at home.