The Nashville Predators had a rough week in Canada, losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in a pair of dispiriting games. Now they’re home again and facing the Anaheim Ducks, hoping to get the season back on track.
The Nashville Predators
With most of the roster healthy again, and the team back at home this week, the Preds have to be feeling pretty good about this game. It would be great if they had Filip Forsberg back, but they’ve been making do.
Matt Duchene continues his shockingly productive season, now leading the team with 19 points and 12 goals—twice as many as the second-most-productive goalscorer, Roman Josi. Ryan Johansen and Tanner Jeannot have also contributed to putting the puck in the net with five goals each, and Mikael Granlund’s 15 assists still lead the team.
The Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks’ rebuild seems to be rounding into gear, with the team starting off slow but rising up the standings with young players like Isac Lundestrom, Trevor Zegras, and of course Troy Terry contributing to the offense. Terry leads the Ducks in points (22) and goals (12), with a healthy ten assists—good for a three-way tie for second on the team behind Ryan Getzlaf (1G, 18A). Young defender Jamie Drysdale has also put in a very solid performance defensively.
The Ducks play a faster-paced game than the Preds at 5v5, giving up more chances and taking more chances; the opposite is true when one team has a skater advantage. The biggest sign of the Ducks’ rebuild I can spot on paper might not be the contributions from young players, but the fact that they’ve been taking very few penalties this season.
That said, some old familiar names are still major contributors, like Hampus Lindholm—continuing his excellent two-way play—and the aforementioned Getzlaf, who hasn’t so much turned himself into a setup man as he ages as he has had brutal puck luck and set up a lot of goals. And John Gibson is still John Gibson, a man who deserves at least one more Vezina Trophy than he has.
How to Watch
The game airs at 7PM Central on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.
Statistics from naturalstattrick.com. Further background from hockeyviz.com.