The Nashville Predators have won two in a row and are looking to make that three as they host the Anaheim Ducks tonight. The Ducks, meanwhile, have had an up-and-down March after an up-and-down season. They’re probably not in playoff contention, but they’d probably be more than happy to act as spoilers.
Although Preds nemeses Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler are no longer donning the black and orange, there are plenty of familiar faces still on the Ducks’ roster. Ryan Getzlaf is fourth on the team in points with 31 and leads them in assists with 28, while Cam Fowler is third in points with 32 and assists with 26. Hampus Lindholm is not having a great season, but he’s there, as are Rickard Rakell (tied for second in goals, with 16) and Jakob Silfverberg. So is the briefly-former Pred Derek Grant, who finally found a NHL spot in Anaheim.
Youngsters Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras lead the Ducks in total production as well as being among the few players with a positive xG share; Terry’s 28 goals and 49 points lead the team, while Zegras’s 43 points and 27 assists are a very respectable second in both. They have a few other under-25s contributing, including 19-year-old defender Jamie Drysdale, but the bulk of the production and the play-driving have come from older players.
John Gibson is also still there, helping drag a team that is lackluster both defensively and offensively to such success as it has had. They’ve had good shooting luck as well as good goaltending, but their 5v5 offense and defense are a little bit subpar, and their power play offense and penalty kill defense are atrocious—despite the excellent conversion rate of the power play. One of those weird contradictions of play.
Gone are the days when the Ducks constantly took penalties; that dishonor now, unfortunately, belongs to the Preds. Still, we can probably expect to see more than a few power plays for both teams, and the Preds should not want that. Hopefully they’re able to remain disciplined.
How to Watch
The game airs at 7PM Central on ESPN+ and 102.5 The Game.
Statistics from naturalstattrick.com. Further background from hockeyviz.com.