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Predators kick off season by hosting Ducks

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (0-1-0) at PREDATORS (0-0-0)

TV -- KDOC (HD); FSN-Tennessee (HD)

Season series
-- It's the season-opener for the Predators and the second game of the season for the Ducks. The teams split four games last season, with each winning once at home and once on the road.

Big story -- The remodeled Predators have been waiting for this night since losing Game 6 of their opening-round series to Chicago last April. The Predators will take the ice at Bridgestone Arena for the first time since being eliminated -- they've lost all five of their playoff appearances, and all five series-ending losses have come in Nashville.

Team Scope:

Ducks -- Anaheim was beaten soundly in its opener, a 4-0 loss at Detroit in which the Ducks were down 2-0 less than six minutes into the game. With a schedule that calls for three road games in four days to start the season, the Ducks can't afford another clunker.

"Looks like we weren't ready to play," said goaltender Jonas Hiller, who made 39 saves and was under siege for much of the night. "Probably starts with me and goes all the way through."

Predators -- Shea Weber will be wearing the captain's "C" when the Predators take the ice, replacing Jason Arnott, who was traded to New Jersey. This game will also mark the debut of center Matthew Lombardi, who's being counted on to replace a lot of the production that left when Arnott was dealt. Nashville hasn't played since Sunday, when the Predators blanked Washington 3-0 in their final preseason game.

Who's hot -- Pekka Rinne, now the unquestioned No. 1 goaltender in Nashville, had an excellent preseason, allowing just 3 goals in 181 minutes (0.99 GAA).

Injury report -- Ducks defenseman Andy Sutton left Friday's game after a second-period altercation with Detroit's Ruslan Salei. … Nashville placed forward Jamie Lundmark on the injured list to get down to the 23-man roster limit.

Stat pack
-- Hiller is 1-2-0 with a 2.69 GAA in three career starts at Bridgestone Arena. Anaheim is now 4-13-0 in its 17 season openers. Nashville is 5-6-0. ... Rinne had a 2-2-0 record with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage against Anaheim last season, and is 3-2-2 with a 2.15 GAA and a .921 percentage against the Ducks for his career. …

Puck drop -- This will be the second NHL game for Anaheim's top draft pick, defenseman Cam Fowler, who made his NHL debut in Detroit. "He's a special athlete, I'm telling you," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said of Fowler, who was chosen with the 12th pick after originally being expected to go in the top 3-4 picks. He played 21:20 in his debut, with no points or shots. The Ducks have nine games to decide whether to keep Fowler all season or return him to juniors.

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