A much-depleted Preds squad had a big win against the Kings last night. With Ryan Ellis and Colton Sissons on IR, Dante Fabbro day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and Matt Duchene out due to illness, the Predators pulled off a 4-1 victory with Rinne in net.
They went classic Swiss Olympic team with a top pairing of Roman Josi and Yannick Weber, and, unlike for the Swiss Olympic team, it worked out for them. Weber was surprisingly competent in the top-pairing role, while Josi continued to build on his team-leading production—he now has 43 points on the season (14G/29A).
Craig Smith (8-10–18) and Rocco Grimaldi (7-13–20) joined Josi with two-point nights last night; Smith also had an excellent shot share, though in very limited minutes. Jarred Tinordi, playing across from Mattias Ekholm on the second pairing, turned in a severely underwhelming performance, but at least managed to refrain from losing his obligatory fight as well.
The goal that Pekka Rinne allowed came on the penalty kill, which continues to be something of an area of concern for the Preds. Still, his strong even-strength play was something that both he and the team badly needed.
Juuse Saros should get the start tonight, and we’ll hope that Duchene and Fabbro are well enough to play.
The Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks are on a three-game losing streak and at the bottom of the Pacific Division. The Predators will still need to take them seriously and play well enough to overcome both road and back-to-back disadvantages in order to get another two points tonight.
Jakob Silfverberg leads the team in points with 28 and goals with 15, while Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell are tied for second in points with an identical 10-15–25. Rakell is currently on IR. Adam Henrique trails Silfverberg in goals with 12, while Hampus Lindholm has a team-leading 16 assists and only one goal.
Derek Grant, who lost his first NHL goal to an intent-to-blow call in Vancouver when he was with the Predators in 2017, has nine goals for the Ducks this season (and is also injured). What a world.
The Ducks have improved their abysmal team defense significantly this season, but are still underwhelming at both ends of the ice. Cam Fowler has been their best defender, while Silfverberg, Rakell, and Henrique have been very effective two-way forwards.
Regular Vezina snub John Gibson has finally collapsed under the weight of several years of carrying the entire Ducks team, and has a .907 sv% on the season. Backup Ryan Miller, speaking of overturned goals in Vancouver, has a .901. Gibson in particular is still capable of turning in an extraordinary performance; Miller may be aging out of being able to do so on a night-by-night basis, but shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Hey, at least Corey Perry doesn’t play for the Ducks anym...? Yeah, nah.
Reasons to Watch
- We still don’t like Ryan Getzlaf
- If you stay up until midnight watching hockey, you get to pretend there isn’t any work tomorrow morning
- Maybe the Preds will win again?
How to Watch
The puck drops at 9 PM Central. The game will air on NBCSN, or you can bypass their commentary by listening to the radio call on 102.5 The Game.