Predators-Mighty Ducks Preview
GAME: Nashville Predators (8-1-1) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (6-5-1).
TIME: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.
If his October performance serves as a preview for the rest of the season, Teemu Selanne will turn out to be an excellent signing for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
Selanne and the Mighty Ducks look to extend their season-best winning streak to four games when they host Paul Kariya and the Nashville Predators.
While some players have been hurt by last season's lockout, Selanne used the time off to fully recover from knee surgery. Now in his 13th NHL season, Selanne is taking advantage of the league's new rules designed to give offensive players more freedom.
He has a team-leading nine goals in his first 12 games, and is off to his best start since the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season.
"I had a lot of time to rehab my knee, and it started feeling good again around the end of May," Selanne said. "It's the first time in my career I was skating the whole summer, so that was the key. It was just getting stronger and stronger. Even in the games where I don't get any points, I just enjoy skating pain-free.
"It's a great feeling. You start enjoying the little things more than before."
Selanne scored his seventh goal in seven games Sunday night to lead the Mighty Ducks to a 3-2 victory over Phoenix. The 35-year-old winger also assisted on two goals by Andy McDonald, who he expects to flourish under the league's new rules.
"I think Andy has all the tools. He just needs the confidence to realize how good he is, because I don't think he knows yet how good he can be," Selanne said. "With his speed and talent, he's going to take advantage of these new rules."
The Mighty Ducks have won three straight overall and five in a row at home.
Tuesday will mark Paul Kariya's first appearance in Anaheim as a member of the Predators.
Kariya, team captain during seven of his eight season with Anaheim, signed with Colorado for the 2003-04 season before signing with Nashville on Aug. 5.
Nashville hopes to get back into the win column after losing its last two games following a season-opening eight-game win streak.
The Predators became the last NHL team to lose in regulation with Saturday's 5-1 defeat to Edmonton.
Although Martin Erat scored Nashville's lone goal on the power play, coach Barry Trotz thinks his team needs better production with the man advantage.
"Our power play is effective in getting chances, but not that effective in scoring goals," Trotz said. We are working very hard on our power play, but it is feast or famine for us."
Defenseman Danny Markov could return to the lineup for the Predators on Tuesday after missing four games with a groin injury. Right wing Scott Walker will miss the first two games of Nashville's three-game road trip with an abdominal strain.
STANDINGS: Predators - 17 points, 2nd place, 5 PB, Central Division. Mighty Ducks - 13 points, 2nd place (tied), 3 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Steve Sullivan, 5 goals and 12 points; Dan Hamhuis and Sullivan, 7 assists; Jeremy Stevenson, 39 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Selanne, 9 goals and 14 points; Rob Niedermayer, 8 assists; Kip Brennan, 28 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 18.1 percent (12 for 66), tied for 14th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (55 for 65), tied for 9th. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 18.6 percent (14 for 75), 12th. Penalty killing: 77.5 percent (69 for 89), 24th.
GOALTENDERS: Predators - Tomas Vokoun (7-1-0, 0 SO, 2.52 GAA); Chris Mason (1-0-0, 3.75). Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (5-2-0, 2.73); Ilya Bryzgalov (1-3-0, 3.06).
SEASON SERIES: Predators, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 8; Predators, 3-2, (OT). At Nashville, Tenn., Yanic Perreault had two goals and Kariya scored the lone goal in the shootout.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 3-0-1 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 5-1-0 at home.