Predators Game Day Preview: Nashville @ Anaheim

The Nashville Predators take on the Anaheim Ducks tonight, and are tied for the final playoff spot in the West with 77 points after Calgary and Detroit won last night. The Ducks are out of sight in the playoff picture, but the Preds need to keep them on their mind and come up with an effort that mirrors last night's first two periods.

The Predators may have fallen, but who says they can't get up?

Nashville coming in

Lots of good. More bad. Read this. At this point, I have no idea if we make the playoffs. But know this: tonight's game will be the biggest barometer of how this team handles adversity. Last night's game was indeed rough, but for me, the blame is mostly on Dan Ellis. Sure, we could talk about how Toronto gave us the shaft, but the fact is Ellis should've had several of the goals he let in. The power play looked downright awesome at times against the Sharks, and throughout the game the Predators showed a better propensity for pulling the trigger on shots. They need to pepper Jonas Hiller tonight.

Anaheim coming in

Turning it over to Arthur at Anaheim Calling:

The Ducks may not have eliminated themselves from the playoffs mathematically, but they've certainly squandered any advantage granted them by the architects of this year's NHL schedule. What started as a seven game homestand, 8 of their first 9 at The Pond to open the month of March, is now a tough final 16 games. Seven of the remaining sixteen will be road games, ten against playoff teams and three played on the tail end of back to backs. The table suddenly looks impossible to run on this side of a four-game losing streak.

Who's hot

Heroic effort in last night's loss.

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Colin Wilson 20 5 4 9 -4 0 1 0 2 0 32 15.6

Who's not


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Steve Sullivan 67 12 28 40 -7 29 4 0 3 0 122 9.8

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - David Legwand 67 10 24 34 -2 24 0 1 3 0 124 8.1

The Guys in Goal

Since we played last night, and Ellis started, we can safely assume Pekka Rinne will get the go.


Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

206

Nov 03, 1982


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Pekka Rinne 44 2388 22 13 112 2.81 1125 1013 .900 3

For the Ducks, Swiss Olympian Jonas Hiller has given them great hope for the future.


Jonas Hiller

#1 / Goalie / Anaheim Ducks

6-2

193

Feb 12, 1982


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Jonas Hiller 50 2859 26 20 133 2.79 1586 1453 .916 2

Projected Lineups

Colin Wilson has been highly effective on the first line, with 3 points in two games, and Shea Weber returned last night.

Forwards
Wilson - Arnott - Erat
Ward - Legwand - Smithson
Sullivan - Goc - Hornqvist
Tootoo - Boyd - Wilson
Defense
Suter - Weber
Hamhuis - Franson
Klein- Bouillon

Since we last saw them, the Ducks have acquired Jason Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky.

Forwards
Ryan - Getzlaf - Perry
Blake- Koivu - Sexton
Beleskey - Marchant - Bodie
Brown - Chipchura - Parros
Defense
Neidermayer - Wisneiwski
Visnovsky - Ward
Brookbank- Eminger

 

Fearless Prediction

The Ducks are reeling, and all but mathematically eliminated from the playoff chase. Barry Trotz can't be pleased with the meltdown last night, and I expect Nashville to come out blazing (at least until fatigue kicks in from playing two nights in a row). The power play has been clicking, but so is the Ducks', so the penalty kill must dig deep tonight. Colin Wilson, Cody Franson, and Patric Hornqvist led the team to the 3rd period on Thursday. Jason Arnott, Shea Weber, and Steve Sullivan must pick up the slack. This is not a playoff team without their production.

Predators 3, Ducks 0. Rinne stakes a claim to the job for the rest of the year, and the power play strikes again.

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