The Ducks and Predators got a nice little rivalry going during their 2011 playoff series, and tonight the battle is rejoined (9:30 p.m. on FS-TN). Stay with us into the wee hours of the morn, as tonight I'm joining Willy Daunic in studio for the post-game show on 102.5 The Game!
|Nashville Predators||Anaheim Ducks|
|5-on-5 Save %||.929||18th||.932||20th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.50||24th||2.33||30th|
|# of PK's/Gm||2.75||2nd||5.33||22nd|
Yes, we're still in the early days of the season, but I wanted to go ahead and get my spreadsheets set up to run these quickly for each game preview. If the refs play a big role tonight, we could see a high-scoring contest, as the Ducks are dynamite on the power play, but a dumpster fire on the PK.
The Ducks will be in a sour mood for this one, coming off a 5-0 defeat in their home opener against Vancouver just last night.
One of the most interesting moves in the Western Conference came over the summer, as the Ducks brought in Bruce Boudreau as head coach to replace Randy Carlyle (who is now in Toronto). Boudreau led some great, high-flying teams in Washington that faltered in the playoffs, but when the decision was made to implement a more defensive style of play, things fell apart. Can he get back to run-and-gun success with the talented group of forwards in Anaheim?
The folks at Anaheim Calling have a fine primeron the major changes for this season's roster, along with their hopes for this season:
Overall, this team should be able to score and give this team a chance. On paper, the forward core is sexy. What team wouldn't want Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan? Ideally, those guys should put up the numbers that can compete with anyone in terms of production. Even if the defensive end isn't up to par and Hiller can't keep up, the Ducks shouldn't have a problem. But, unfortunately, we've seen that this doesn't always work for this team, because as a whole, you need more than four great players.
The other major storyline in Anaheim is similar to what Nashville had to deal with last season, a pair of star players in their prime (Corey Perry & Ryan Getzlaf) are heading towards unrestricted free agency, and let's face it, they could probably hit the jackpot much like Ryan Suter & Zach Parise did if they want to hit the open market. The new wrinkle in this CBA is that they could get one more year on a contract if they sign in Anaheim, so will that be a factor in their decision-making?
A good resource for the latest line combinations is Daily Faceoff, and the hot hand to keep an eye out for is on the third line, as Daniel Winnik leads the Ducks in scoring with 4 goals and one assist through three games:
Josh Cooper reported on some fresh lines used in practice yesterday, so we'll have to see if they show up on the ice tonight:
|Colin Wilson||Mike Fisher||Martin Erat|
|Gabriel Bourque||David Legwand||Patric Hornqvist|
|Sergei Kostitsyn||Nick Spaling||Craig Smith|
|Rich Clune||Paul Gaustad||Brandon Yip|
That 3rd line could be a train wreck, but I feel better about the top two, at least. We're looking forward to having Paul Gaustad back in the lineup as well.
On defense, Jonathon Blum is the only skater not to get into a game for the Preds yet, so we'll have to see if he gets a chance back on his home turf.