Today the Nashville Predators (16-6-1) play the Anaheim Ducks (10-9-5) for the second time in thirteen days, having previously played at the Honda Center. That game resulted in a 2-1 shootout loss for the Predators, who are hoping the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena aid them tonight.
Having played three playoff series against the Ducks in the last eight years, the animosity between these teams is only equivalent to what a parent feels when they step on a Lego. What has each team been up to since they last played?
The Anaheim Ducks
Since defeating the Predators in a shootout, the Ducks have gone from near the cellar of the Pacific division up to third. They were blown out by the Vegas Golden Knights, then lost twice in overtime, but now are looking to pick up their third-straight win after defeating Vancouver and Edmonton. Any points that they can earn will be gladly taken, as tonight is the first stop on a five-game road trip for the Ducks.
An untold story this season is how good Ryan Getzlaf has been for the Ducks. Although he missed a few games due to injury, he currently has 17 points in 18 games. With Corey Perry out and Ryan Kesler playing abysmal hockey, Getzlaf is the last of the Ducks’ old guard carrying their weight right now.
However, their young guns have been thrilling to watch and, if they weren’t Ducks, you’d probably like them. Rickard Rakell is breaking out in a big way this season, and Jakob Silfverberg has played exceptional hockey. Their depth has stabilized a little bit too via Kiefer Sherwood and the acquisition of Pontus Åberg. Meanwhile, John Gibson has continued to be lights-out in net.
The Nashville Predators
Although it feels that the Predators have floundered as late, they are still 6-3-1 in their last ten games and own the best record in hockey. A 6-2 loss to a bad Blues team is never ideal, but weird things can happen in back-to-back games against the same team.
Furthermore, with injuries piling up, there is plenty of opportunity to regress for a team that has already been pretty lucky, owning one of the top PDO’s in the league. Viktor Arvidsson will still miss a few weeks, Kyle Turris is also out, and word is mum on when exactly P.K. Subban will return to the ice. The team still lacks a real identity for each of their bottom three lines, and injuries will not solve that issue anytime soon.
Thankfully, the team still has Pekka Rinne, who became the winningest Finnish goaltender of all time last Wednesday. The Predators have been bailed out time and time again by Rinne this season, who’s having a significantly better year than last season when he won the Vezina. In case you have not been keeping up, Rinne has a jaw-dropping .944 save percentage and 1.66 goals against average. In a year when every line other than the top line has not been clicking, Rinne has played phenomenally.
Reasons to Watch
- You might see Joey fight Kesler.
- You hate the Ducks with all your soul.
- You love seeing Pekka Rinne shut the Ducks down and it’s become a tradition to watch it happen.
Sights and Sounds
The game is downtown at Bridgestone Arena at 7:00pm. Fox Sports South will televise the game and 102.5 The Game will carry it on the radio.
I will be having cake, because it’s my birthday!
By cake, I hopefully mean frosting, with a little cake on the side.