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Predators try to end slide in Anaheim

by John Kreiser

PREDATORS (5-4-3) at DUCKS (6-7-1)

TV-- FSN-Tennessee; PRIME

Last 10 -- Nashville 3-4-3; Anaheim 5-4-1

Season series -- It's the second meeting of the season between the Western Conference rivals. Nashville opened its season with a 4-1 home victory against the Ducks on Oct. 9. Nashville won three of four meetings last season

Big story -- It's a meeting between two teams that appear headed in opposite directions. Nashville has lost four in a row, all in regulation, and is winless on its current road trip. After a rugged start that included the loss in Nashville, the Ducks are starting to get production from their big line and better play from their defense, as well as solid performances by goaltenders Jonas Hiller and Curtis McElhinney.

Team Scope:

Predators -- The Predators have hit the skids after a 5-0-3 start and were beaten soundly on Saturday in a 4-1 loss at Los Angeles that saw coach Barry Trotz pull starting goaltender Pekka Rinne. They've dropped the first three games of a five-game trip that ends in St. Louis on Thursday.

"We didn't give Pekka Rinne a lot of support, and offensively, they didn't give us much," Trotz said. "Everything we know they can do, they did. And we didn't prevent them from doing a whole lot. Wins aren't coming very easy for us, so it's becoming frustrating."

Ducks -- If the Ducks were looking for a turning point in a season that's had its ups and downs, it might have happened Friday night, when Anaheim jumped to a 3-0 lead and held off Pittsburgh 3-2 for its first back-to-back wins of the season.

"Hopefully it's a stepping stone and we can get some confidence," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We'll feel a lot better about ourselves tomorrow morning again. That is what we're trying to do, something to build on here. We want this building specifically to be a tough place to come into and play. We've accomplished that in these last two games."

Who's hot -- Cal O'Reilly assisted on the Predators' lone goal Saturday and has assists in each of his last three games. … Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf has goals in each of the Ducks' last three games and five points in the last five. Linemate Bobby Ryan is 3-2-5 in the last five.

Injury report -- Nashville forwards Martin Erat (back) and Matthew Lombardi (concussion) are out, and defenseman Ryan Suter (lower body) is on injured reserve. … Anaheim has no new injuries.

Stat pack -- Nashville coach Barry Trotz will be behind the bench for his 915th NHL game, all with the Predators. He'll move past Hall of Famer Toe Blake into fifth place for the most games coached with one team. ... Nashville's 27 goals are last in the Western Conference.

Puck drop -- The Ducks appear to be finding their wings -- a win against Nashville would be three in a row, with the struggling Islanders on tap Wednesday. Nashville has looked nothing like the team that got points in each of its first eight games and needs a quick rebound to avoid an 0-3 showing on its week in the West.

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