Anaheim’s Defense vs. Nashville’s Offense
True, hockey, unlike the other major team sports (baseball, basketball, football) doesn’t have a true offense vs. defense match-up, but tonight’s Preds game at Anaheim will be determined by the match-up of the Ducks defensive coverage vs. the Preds offensive pressure.
The Ducks, normally one of the league’s stingiest defensive teams in the league, has struggled in their own end at the start of this season, allowing 3.46 goals per game this season, tied for the fourth most in the league, including 33 goals against in eight home games. And over its last five games Anaheim has surrendered 20 goals. Further, the Ducks are allowing a whopping 34.8 shots against per game, third most in the league.
Similar to the Ducks defensive struggles, the Preds have generated just 2.08 goals per game this season, however the Predators have scored 10 goals during their current three-game winning streak. And after scoring just 11 goals in their first eight games of the season, the Preds have netted 16 goals in their past five contests. In that last five game stretch the Preds have averaged just a hair under 30 shots per game – all against teams ranked among the league’s top-10 stingiest in shots against this season.
Since the start of last season when the Preds went with the goaltending duo of Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne
, the Preds are 35-7-2 when scoring at least three goals, including a 4-0-0 mark this season. If the Preds can continue their recent offensive upswing and capitalize on the Ducks defensive struggles, Nashville has a good chance to pick up two points in tonight’s game.