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Preds/Ducks Match-Up To Watch

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Nashville’s Defensive Pairing of Hamhuis & Zanon vs.

Anaheim’s Forward Line of Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry-Bobby Ryan

Hamhuis and Zanon have been the Preds best shut-down defensive pairing through the bulk of the season and are used to matching up against the top offensive threats on opposing teams. Their work has been integral in the Preds ranking among the league’s stingiest defensive teams this season, not to mention Nashville’s league-leading 10 shutouts.

With the home ice advantage of making the last substitution before substitution it will be easier for Preds Head Coach Barry Trotz to dictate the match-ups in tomorrow's game. If Coach continues to use Hamhuis and Zanon agaisnt the opposing team's top line, the duo will see a lot of Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan.

Shutting down Anaheim’s top trio of Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan is integral to shutting down the Ducks attack. Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan are the three highest scoring forwards on the Ducks team this season. Perry and Ryan lead the team with 24 goals each, while Getzlaf has 23 goals and a team-best 77 points.

Around this year’s trade deadline Anaheim moved high-scoring winger Chris Kunitz – a staple on Getzlaf’s wing during his tenure in Anaheim – to Pittsburgh, physical winger Travis Moen to San Jose, checking line center Samuel Pahlsson to Chicago, and lost center Brendan Morrison on waivers. As a result, Teemu Selanne (22 goals) and Rob Niedermayer (11 goals) are the only other forwards on Anaheim’s roster with more than 10 goals scored this season. By contrast, the Preds have six forwards who have scored at least 10 goals, with Steve Sullivan and Radek Bonk – both of whom have missed significant time to injury – knocking on the door to double-digits.

“Well, it’s a real challenge,” Hamhuis said of matching up against the Getzlaf line. “They can pretty much do anything; they’re big, they have a long reach with their sticks, and they're skilled. You have to try not to give them too much time out there, we need to try to get on them as quickly as we can, and just try to make plays.”

The Getzlaf-Perry-Ryan line was dominant last week when the two teams met in Anaheim, producing the game’s opening goal and finished the game with two goals and three assists. They were dangerous throughout the night creating several quality scoring chances and were consistently able to generate momentum for the Ducks.

Whichever side wins that head-to-head match-up gives its team the upper hand to win the game and walk away with the key two points.

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