The Western Conference Quarterfinals series between the Anaheim Ducks and the Nashville Predators makes its first stop at Bridgestone Arena tonight, where one team will be looking to take a 2-1 series lead. The Predators dominated Game One from start to finish, but shot themselves in the foot multiple times in Game Two, en route to a 5-3 defeat that tied the series at 1 a piece.
Obviously, the key for Nashville is going to be staying out of the penalty box. The Predators have already served 26 penalty minutes through two games and paid dearly. Of Anaheim's 6 goals so far, 4 came with a man advantage (if you count Getzlaf's goal last night, which came seconds after Blake Geoffrion left the box). The flip side, however, is that Nashville has played extremely well at even strength. If the Predators can stay out of the penalty box, they'll have a good shot at taking Game three.
The other big story coming into tonight's game is the two game suspension of Bobby Ryan. The suspension is huge because it will disarm one of the highest scoring lines in the NHL for both of Nashville's home games. If the Predators can capitalize, winning both of their games at Bridgestone Arena and carrying a two game series lead back to Anaheim, they'll have a serious shot at making franchise history.
Predator fans have waited all year for playoff hockey in Smashville, and it's finally here; the Bridge will be rockin', and the rally towels will be wavin'. Welcome to hell, Anaheim.
Projected lineups after the jump:
It's possible we could see a hungry Colin Wilson tonight, but I think Trotz will hold firm on his lines from the first two games.
|2010 - Pekka Rinne||64||3789||33||22||134||2.12||1905||1771||.930||6|
It's hard to say what Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle will do with his top line without Bobby Ryan. Brandon McMillan skated with Getzlaf and Perry yesterday in Ryan's place, but I doubt we'll see that tonight. I'm taking a complete stab in the dark here, but I'll say Selanne takes Ryan's spot on the first line, and Ruutu plays his second game of the series after getting scratched Friday night. Chime in in the comments section if you have any information. Ray Emery more than likely gets his second consecutive start in net.
|2010 - Ray Emery||10||527||7||2||20||2.28||272||252||.926||0|