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Predators at Ducks preview

Nashville hopes line changes create more offense; Anaheim playing Western Conference team for first time in eight games

by Dan Arritt / Correspondent

PREDATORS (5-5-2) at DUCKS (6-5-1)

10 p.m. ET; PRIME, FS-TN, NHL.TV


The Game

Forward Scott Hartnell will move to the top line for Nashville Predators and Filip Forsberg will go to the second line against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Friday.

The Predators have lost four of their past five games (1-3-1) and have been held to two goals or fewer in their past six. They are 29th in the NHL with 2.33 goals per game and have the fewest 5-on-5 goals with 13.

The Ducks will play a Western Conference team for the first time since a 3-1 loss at the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 13. They went 4-3-0 in their just-completed seven-game stretch against teams from the East.

It's the first time the teams will play since the Predators defeated the Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final in Anaheim last season. The Predators also defeated the Ducks in the 2016 Western Conference First Round.


Players to watch

Nashville forward Ryan Johansen has been a slow starter. He has one goal in 29 October games the past three seasons, including none in 11 games this season. But he has five goals in November each of the two previous seasons.

Ducks forward Derek Grant had no goals and seven assists in his first 92 NHL games spread across five seasons with five teams. In his past six games he has six points (three goals, three assists).


They said it

"Typically these games have been heavy-battled games and really good hockey games. I would expect nothing different tonight." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette

"There's been animosity that's been built up over the last couple playoff series and I think both teams are looking at it from an emotional standpoint, but you have to keep your emotions in check." -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle


Predators projected lineup

Scott Hartnell -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Filip Forsberg -- Colton Sissons -- Craig Smith

Kevin Fiala -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Pontus Aberg

Cody McLeod -- Frederick Gaudreau -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Mattias Ekholm

Alexei Emelin -- P.K. Subban

Yannick Weber -- Samuel Girard

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Miikka Salomaki, Matt Irwin, Anthony Bitetto

Injured: Nick Bonino (lower body), Ryan Ellis (knee)


Ducks projected lineup

Rickard Rakell -- Kalle Kossila -- Corey Perry

Jakob Silfverberg -- Antoine Vermette -- Andrew Cogliano

Nick Ritchie -- Derek Grant -- Ondrej Kase

Chris Wagner -- Dennis Rasmussen -- Jared Boll

Hampus Lindholm -- Josh Manson

Francois Beauchemin -- Brandon Montour

Kevin Bieksa -- Sami Vatanen

John Gibson

Ryan Miller

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Logan Shaw, Jaycob Megna

Injured: Ryan Getzlaf (face), Cam Fowler (knee), Patrick Eaves (illness), Ryan Kesler (hip)


Status reports

Laviolette said he hopes the line changes will generate more offense and balance the lines. ... Kesler has been skating three days a week as part of his rehabilitation from hip surgery June 8, but Carlyle said he's not close to being ready to play.


Stat pack

The Predators have killed 37 of 40 power plays on the road this season (92.5 percent), which ranks second in the NHL behind the San Jose Sharks (95.0 percent). ... The Ducks have killed 24 of the past 27 power plays (89.9 percent) to move from 18th in the League to sixth on the penalty kill since Oct. 14.

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