Nashville Predators @ Anaheim Ducks
9 pm CST
TV: FSTN (HD) Radio: 97-1 RQQ, Predators Radio Network
It’s just hanging out there like a flag in the wind. Painful as banging your toe on the edge of the bed at night and annoying as the single, loudly buzzing fly in your dead-quiet kitchen. It’s last night’s third period, when the Predators allowed six goals to the San Jose Sharks and lost 8-5. But much like that fly once swatted or out the window, it’s behind you. Life goes back to being in the moment.
And that’s exactly what Barry Trotz said to me this morning when we talked about the game tonight. Yes, you hate to lose a game like that, and the third period elicited a string of emotions (none of them good). But it’s history. The Predators have to put the game behind them now. Don’t lose the lesson, realize you need to be better, but as coach Trotz wisely put it “we can’t let last night’s game affect tonight’s focus.”
Basically, the Preds still have a chance to get out of this road trip at 3-1, and last night’s meltdown is largely attributed to not getting saves when needed in the third period. For two periods Nashville did many things right, including bottle up the Sharks vaunted offense and pour 34 shots on goal, scoring four times. Yes, the Predators looked very, very good for 40 minutes. Let’s hope that is what carries over into tonight against the Ducks.
This is a Ducks team that is struggling right now. The only team in the NHL that hasn’t won post-Olympics, Anaheim finds itself possibly without Teemu Selanne tonight (flu) and still looking for answers out of Jonas Hiller, who has been mired in a slump since returning from a great tournament with the Swiss in Vancouver. The Ducks have also been atrocious on the penalty kill, allowing three power play goals against twice in the last four games. Finally, the club has netted just eight goals in the last four outings.
If Nashville can jump out on the Ducks the way they did on the Sharks, Anaheim might be far more inclined to fold the tent than San Jose. Doubt is creeping into the dressing room at the Honda Center, and the best thing the Preds can do is exploit that early and often.Notes:
Keys to the Game
- The Ducks PK unit is just 12-19 since the Olympic break (63.2%). Ducks’ head coach Randy Carlyle has said he is even considering using completely different personnel on the kill if things don’t change very quickly.
- The Ducks have allowed three power play goals in a game against both Columbus and Colorado since the break.
- Anaheim is 0-3-1 since the break and has been out-scored 17-8 in those four games.
- JP Dumont netted his 500th NHL point last night in the loss to San Jose. Dumont finished the game with a pair of goals.
- Cody Franson ranks third in the NHL in road plus/minus at +13. Only Jarome Iginla (+15) and Nicklas Lidstrom (+14) are better away from home.
- Short memories for the Predators. Forget it, you can’t go back and win that one anymore. Now you have to win tonight’s game.
- Goaltending. Both teams have been looking for answers between the pipes, with Hiller having an apparent Olympic hangover and Nashville still looking for one guy to take the mantle and go. Someone has to step up, hopefully tonight it’s Rinne.
- Contain Ryan, Perry, and Getzlaf. A combined 69 goals shows you where this line stands in terms of production.