Tonight, the Predators welcome the 5-3-1 Anaheim Ducks to Bridgestone Arena. The last time Anaheim came to Nashville, they lost the series-deciding game six of the first round of last season’s playoffs to the Predators. I expect this game will have a slightly special meaning.
- Rinne was not at his best against Anaheim in last season’s playoffs. Playing against Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan will do that. Much like the game against Tampa, Rinne will need some goal support from his team, in addition to good defense, to win this game.
- Not surprisingly, Anaheim is once again being led by Selanne, Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan. They started the season hot by winning four of their first five before cooling off and dropping their next three. Like Nashville though, they’ll be coming into Saturday off a win with theirs coming at Minnesota Thursday night. If Nashville can shutdown those four, they have a good chance of winning. Sounds easy, right?
- Kostitsyn is doubtful tonight, but Erat is in. According to Trotz, Erat will slide right in to Kostitsyn’s place on the Craig Smith and Mike Fisher line. Erat isn’t quite the playmaker that Kostitsyn, but he’s much better on the puck. He’s got the wheels to keep up with Smith and Fisher as well, so this line should be fun to watch.
- Will Hornqvist or Bergfors play the entire game next to Colin Wilson and David Legwand? Let’s all hope so. While Matt Halischuk is a solid player, Wilson and Legwand seemed so much more dangerous with either Hornqvist or Bergfors. Nashville needs a second scoring line to take some pressure off of the Smith and Fisher line.
- Nashville needs to get that power play clicking. While Anaheim boasts a 86.5% penalty kill unit, it drops down to 72.2% on the road- good for 26th in the league.
- The writing has been on the wall for several weeks now for Cal O’Reilly. Cal hasn’t been able to stay healthy and the play of Craig Smith quickly made him expendable. With Erat coming off of injured reserve, the timing became right and David Poile got a good pick for O’Reilly.
I’ll be taking my kids out to the Halloween festivities at Montgomery Bell State Park tonight, so be sure to catch the Mark’s recap of the game.
You are invited to follow me on Twitter (@SingletonPreds). For game recaps of all Predators games as well as great insights on the Predators and the NHL, check out my HockeyIndependent colleague, Mark Willoughby (@TheViewFrom111).
About the Author: Nashville Predators Blogger, Software Engineer (C#.NET), Novice Woodworker, Southern Cook, Husband, Father of Two. You may contact me at David.R.Singleton AT gmail.com.