So... it looks like Cam Fowler is ready for the Olympics....
.... And who can blame him. The cauldron is lit, the Games have begun and frankly Ducks hockey hasn't been a Hell of a lot of fun to watch lately. In fact, as I write this I have Men's Slopestyle Snowboarding streaming and the US Women's Hockey team versus Finland on TV, if only there was some Curling on I'd be set (seriously, I love curling).
As you saw at the end of that clip, Teemu Selanne is ready for Sochi as well. Actually he's a little more ready than the rest of the Ducks since he did not join them on the trip to Nashville, opting to stay home and grab a little bit of extra rest prior to heading to Russia. Not a huge surprise that he'll take an extra day off this season and as much as we may hate to admit it, not a huge loss for the team either, although he did play pretty well in the first period against Chicago on Wednesday. The most disappointing part of it for me though is that if this decision was made a few weeks ago, we might have been able to see him in the Opening Ceremony, maybe even carrying the flag in his sixth and final Olympiad.
BUT we do have one more game to talk about. The Ducks are in Smashville to take on the Preds who have lost their last two games to St. Louis in a shootout and Minnesota in overtime.
Keys to the Game: The first goal will be very important, considering the difficulties Anaheim has had scoring goals in their four losses over the last two weeks. Against both Dallas and Columbus they generated very few dangerous scoring chances and even fewer second chances. Against Chicago they seemed slightly better but still couldn't break through. Most of the Ducks goals lately have been coming from right in the crease and all three of those teams did well to keep the Ducks shots to the outside.
Nashville is having their worst defensive season in over a decade, due in large part to Pekka Rinne's hip injury, but they're still coached by Barry Trotz. If they get out to a lead early, as they did in the last meting, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Preds simply refuse to let the Ducks anywhere near the net.
What Can We Learn From This Game: Let's not kid ourselves, this is all about breaking the three game losing streak that the Ducks are currently in and having some sort of positive result to think about for the next two and a half weeks.
Fearless Prediction: Thinking he's playing against Sweden (and their gorgeous yellow jerseys) already, Sami Vatanen will lead the Ducks in hits.
Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day (lineup news, etc.) and start commenting. We'll have a quick stats pack shortly before puck drop for the in-game comments to flow.