The last time the Ducks and Preds met, the Ducks were coming off of their first outright win of their first incredibly long roadtrip of the season. Little did we know then that the win versus Minnesota would be the last time the Ducks grabbed two points in regulation. By the way, that was October 27th.
The Ducks played uninspired, flat hockey versus the Predators and lost 3-0. The game was not without controversy, though. First, Francois Beauchemin leveled Mike Fisher, causing Fisher to miss the rest of the game plus the following game with an 'upper body injury'.
Fisher, and much of the Nashville media and fanbase, not surprisingly expected the league to review the hit, which they did, but ultimately decided that Beauchemin was executing a full body check that had incidental head contact. Fisher and everyone in Nashville was shocked at the league's decision to not discipline Beauch further. I'm sure that Beauch is going to be on the radar of new Predators enforcer (former Crunch/Duck), Brian McGrattan. McGrattan is a pretty nasty fighter, but Beauch can hold his own, if necessary. With George Parros out four weeks, the enforcer duties will likely fall to Sheldon Brookbank, and getting Brookbank off the ice for a scrap is less costly than Beauchemin.
Then there was a little issue of the post game comments from team captain, Ryan Getzlaf. Frustrated after the loss, and penalties he believed he and his teammates were goaded into by Predators' pest Jordin Tootoo, Getzlaf said the following:
"We keep talking about all this stuff and changing rules and head shots and all that kind of stuff," Getzlaf said. "That’s not the stuff that’s hurting our game. It’s the lack of respect on the ice. I’m tired of watching Jordin Tootoo out there, a guy who runs around and hits and does everything else but the first little slash, he’s laying on the ice and he’s out the next shift."
Pretty strong words from the captain. I expect Jordin Tootoo to change nothing about his game tonight. He knows he gets under the Ducks skin. Tootoo's biggest contribution to the Preds is not the ability to play a strong two-way game, but to get the best players of the other team off the ice. The Ducks must control themselves and not allow Tootoo to dictate their playing time.
The Predators played last night in a 4-3 loss to the Kings. Backup goaltender (and piece of Ikea furniture) Anders Lindback got the start, so we'll be seeing our old friend (and giant spaghetti monster) Pekka Rinne in net tonight. Now that the boys are back home, they should able to get the matchups that Carlyle wants and hopefully start to regain success on the power play. 11 of the next 13 games are at home. There is no reason why the Ducks can't start to regain their momentum and earn back the points lost on the road. More than anything, playing in front of the home crowd gives the Ducks a much needed confidence boost. Should be a good game.