(33-12-6) Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators (33-11-6)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Nissan Pregame: 6:30 P.M. Tickets
The two best teams in the NHL get together tonight for a showdown at Bridgestone Arena. The Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks, both with 72 points on the season to pace the League, are set for the second of three meetings in 2014-15. It'll be the only contest between the two in Tennessee this season.
Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne is expected to start tonight for Nashville, his first action since he suffered a sprained knee on Jan. 13 against Vancouver. Rinne, who missed eight games during his absence, still leads the NHL in wins with 29.
Nashville is coming off of a 4-3 win over Toronto on Tuesday, the ninth-consecutive win at Bridgestone Arena, a new franchise record. Nashville's 20-2-1 home record includes 17 one-goal decisions, including three that needed overtime and four shootout victories.
The Predators have seen 127 points come from their blue line this season, tied for first in the NHL. Nashville, who has five defensemen with 10 or more points, lead the League in goals by defensemen with 34.
The Preds also became the first team in NHL this season to have two shorthanded goals scored by defensemen. Seth Jones tallied the first shorthanded goal of his career on Tuesday against Toronto, while Shea Weber notched a shorthanded marker on Dec. 30 versus St. Louis. Less than five minutes after Jones scored his shorthanded goal, Weber tallied a power-play goal for the Preds, marking the first time in franchise history that Preds blueliners have registered shorthanded and power-play goals in the same game.
Colin Wilson scored his fourth game-winning goal of the season on Tuesday, tying him for the team lead in game winners this season. It was his ninth tally in the third period on the campaign, giving him 15 points (6g-9a) in his last 14 games. Wilson's 16 goals this season ties him for second on the club and also equals his career high for goals in a season. His 36 points are third on the team and tie the fifth-year forward's career high, set in 2011-12.
Filip Forsberg has six points in his last six games, most recently tallying an assist on Shea Weber's goal on Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. On Sunday, the rookie recorded his 12th multi-point game of the season. The Swede leads Nashville in both goals (17) and points (45) and leads NHL rookies in assists (23) and points. His 17 goals are good for a tie for the top spot among all first-year players in the League.
The Ducks, one of just two teams other than Nashville with 33 wins on the season, are led offensively by Ryan Getzlaf. Anaheim's captain has 52 points (16g-36a) in 50 games this season, while Corey Perry leads the club in goals with 21. In total, the Ducks have 16 players so far to reach double digits in points this season.
Anaheim has utilized four goaltenders this season, but Frederik Anderson is the man in net for the Ducks. The Denmark native is 28-7-5 on the campaign with three shutouts to go along with a 2.31 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
Nashville has collected at least a point in nine of its last 13 games against Anaheim dating back to Jan. 5, 2011, going 6-4-3 in those games. All-time, the Preds are 24-25-(2)-8 versus the Ducks and 15-9-(2)-3 in the Music City.
Nashville's 21 wins in one-goal games (21-4-6) is second most in the League in the category. Mike Ribeiro, who is just one point away from 700 for his NHL career, has 52 points (14g-38a) in 48 career games against the Ducks.
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Players: Pekka Rinne, Gabriel Bourque and Filip Forsberg
What to Watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Morning Skate Update:
The Preds held a "recommended optional" skate this morning, in the words of Head Coach Peter Laviolette, ahead of tonight's contest with Anaheim.
Pekka Rinne, who was one of this morning's participants, will start tonight against the Ducks, his first start since spraining his knee on Jan. 13 vs. Vancouver.
Forward lines from yesterday's practice, as well as additional thoughts from the team on tonight's game, can be found here.Nashville Projected Lines:
Forsberg - Ribeiro - Smith
Wilson - Fisher - Neal
Cullen - Jarnkrok - Bourque
Nystrom - Gaustad - BeckDefensemen:
Josi - Weber
Ekholm - Volchenkov
Bartley - JonesGoaltenders:
Carter Hutton*Confirmed StarterAnaheim Projected Lines (per NHL.com):
Bourque - Getzlaf - Perry
Cogliano - Kesler - Smith-Pelly
Belesky - Rakell - Silfverberg
Palmieri - Thompson - MaroonDefensemen:
Fowler - Brewer
Lindholm - Beauchemin
Stoner - VatanenGoaltenders:
Ilya Bryzgalov*Projected Starter