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Predators' Neal hopes to remain hot against Ducks

by Robby Stanley

DUCKS (1-3-1) at PREDATORS (5-1-0)


NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators forward James Neal will try to continue his hot streak against the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Neal has five goals in the past three games and had a game-clinching shootout goal in a 4-3 win against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

"I think when you want to score goals and you build up to getting the chances and getting the shots on net and doing what goes with that, sometimes you're streaky," Neal said. "You just want to continue to build with your confidence and try to feel that good all the time. It's hard, and sometimes you're not going to feel as confident or feel as good on the ice. But you've got to ride it out as long as you can."

Neal wants to shoot the puck as much as possible when he's riding these kinds of hot streaks. He's been productive since forward Mike Fisher joined his line alongside Filip Forsberg.

"I think you just have lots of confidence with the puck," Neal said. "You feel confident with your game and you feel confident with the plays you're making and the shots you're taking. You do want to shoot the puck more. You feel like it's going in for you. You want to put it to the net as much as possible."

The Ducks begin a five-game road trip Thursday against five Central Division teams. Their 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday was their first of the season.

"We play five of the best teams in the League so it's a real test and a real challenge," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "If you accept the test and you accept the challenge, then you embrace it. Then good things happen."

Here are the projected lineups:


Carl Hagelin - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Jiri Sekac - Rickard Rakell - Chris Stewart

Patrick Maroon - Shawn Horcoff - Mike Santorelli

Hampus Lindholm - Kevin Bieksa

Cam Fowler - Josh Manson

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Anton Khudobin

Frederik Andersen

Injured: Simon Despres (upper body), Nate Thompson (shoulder)

Scratched: Tim Jackman, Kenton Helgesen, Korbinian Holzer


Filip Forsberg - Mike Fisher - James Neal

Colin Wilson - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith

Gabriel Bourque - Cody Hodgson - Calle Jarnkrok

Eric Nystrom - Paul Gaustad - Austin Watson

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Barret Jackman - Seth Jones

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Injured: None

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Victor Bartley, Viktor Arvidsson

Status report: Stoner returns from a lower-body injury and replaces Holzer in the lineup. ... Khudobin was the first goalie off the ice and is expected to start. … Ellis (lower-body injury), Watson (upper body) and Jackman (upper body) participated in the morning skate and are listed as day-to-day but could return to the lineup. ... Rinne was the first goaltender off the ice for the Predators and is expected to start.

Who's hot: Lindholm had one goal and one assist against Minnesota and is tied for the Anaheim lead in points. … Forsberg has six points in his past five games.

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