9:00 PM CST | 102.9 FM | FS-TN (HD)
The Nashville Predators begin a three game West Coast swing tonight against the Anaheim Ducks, with an opportunity to not only end Anaheim's 3 game winning streak, but extend one of their own. Both the Predators and Ducks are without some key performers up front, so one thing to watch for is who is ready to step up.
Put on an extra pot of coffee tonight, because it'll be a late one. First, though, follow after the jump for your lineups, injury news, and pregame thoughts.
Pekka Rinne has been fairly outstanding of late, stopping 19 of 20 shots Sunday against Columbus. I'm not sure if he or Anders Lindback will start tonight considering the game against Los Angeles tomorrow, but my assumption would be Rinne.
|2010 - Pekka Rinne||24||1383||10||10||52||2.26||650||598||.920||3|
Take a deep breath.
Out for the Predators tonight will be Matthew Lombardi, Cal O`Reilly, Martin Erat, and Steve Sullivan. Yeah, I don't know who's going to score either. It sounds like Chris Mueller will center the 4th line.
Jonas Hiller has stopped the most shots in the NHL. He has also faced the most shots in the NHL.
|2010 - Jonas Hiller||36||2059||19||13||87||2.54||1159||1072||.925|
The Ducks are missing superstar center and new captain Ryan Getzlaf, who took a puck to the forehead several games ago. They just added super-pest Maxim Lapierre from Montreal, but I'm not sure where he'll slot in the lineup.
- The Preds played most of their win against Columbus like their hair was on fire, but I'm interested to see if they can make that a trend. Too often this year Nashville has been Jekyll and Hyde, looking like world-beaters one night and the Oilers the next. All I ask for is a little consistency - it doesn't even have to be the world beating kind. If Nashville can play the type of hockey they're known for and Barry Trotz asks of them, then they will make the playoffs. It might not be pretty, but it gets the job done. A little of that tonight against Anaheim will go a long way.
- Anaheim, as I mentioned, gives up 34.6 shots per game, which is the most in the entire league. If Nashville can pepper the net with shots (as the statistics would indicate they can), you'd have to think that at least a few will go in, and that's all Pekka Rinne and the league's 3rd best defense will likely need.
- For what it's worth, the Ducks have been dealing with some inconsistency issues of their own (though the Ducks are two points ahead of Nashville), but riding a 3 game win streak heading into tonight's game. It will be to the Predators' benefit to jump on Anaheim early, chipping pucks into the zone and chasing, rather than attempting to enter it straight up without so many key forwards.
- Tonight is a prime opportunity for the much maligned Kevin Klein to step up. The Ducks, regardless of Getzlaf being out, roll two very solid scoring lines. Whichever unit Klein and Francis Bouillon go up against will be a tall order - particularly if Klein is pressed into duty against Teemu Selanne, whose age has not appeared to slow him in any way.