Game # 27
Saturday, December 2nd, 5:00PM PST
TV: FS-TN, PRIME
Radio: AM 830
The Enemy: On The Forecheck
The Anaheim Ducks are looking to salvage points from the second half of back-to-backs on this six-game road trip when they take on the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday afternoon. They are coming off of a 4-2 defeat yesterday at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, a game that saw the debuts of Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi in Anaheim sweaters.
The Nashville Predators have been on a roll all season long, currently sitting at 15-7-3, which is only good enough for 3rd in the stacked Central Division. They are coming off of a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks and will be looking to rebound against an Anaheim team that is still struggling with injuries, despite the returns of a couple key players to the starting lineup.
The returns of Ondrej Kase and Brandon Montour helped Anaheim mitigate the loss of Sami Vatanen to the trade with New Jersey that took place earlier this week, but the Columbus Blue Jackets still seemed to be able to find ways to heavily outshoot and outchance the Ducks throughout the duration of the contest. Adam Henrique recorded his first point with the Ducks on a beautiful pass that sent Kevin Roy in on a clean breakaway, which he deposited 5-hole on Joonas Korpisalo.
The Predators are currently holding an impressive 9-2-1 record on home ice, so the Ducks will have their work cut out for them as they look to steal a point or two in Nashville. The Ducks are currently 5-4-2 on the road this season, which is better than the 6-7-2 record they hold in games at Honda Center.
All Eyes On Me
The player that I will be keeping my eye on during this game is Ondrej Kase. He returned to the lineup yesterday against Columbus after having missed the previous ten games due to an upper body injury. He looked to have a couple dangerous looks but was unable to make any plays happen. However, now that he has had a game to get his legs back under him, I will be looking to him to help the Ducks offense turn the tables and control possession and chances a bit more than they have been in recent weeks. Getting on the scoresheet would be a huge added bonus for a struggling offense as well.
Keys to the Game
1. Penalties - Don’t take them. It’s that simple. Filip Forsberg has 8 (!!!) power plays already on the year, and that only accounts for eight of the 25 (!!!!!!!!) power play goals that the Nashville Predators have scored thus far this season. The Predators have the 3rd best power play in the league, and if the Ducks play like they did yesterday, they could expect an ugly special teams day.
2. New Guy - Adam Henrique was quick to make an offensive impact for the Ducks, and Anaheim will need him to continue making a good first impression centering the top line if they are going to be able to get pucks past Pekka Rinne and make this a difficult game for the Nashville Predators.
3. Quick Start - This is an obvious key for the second half of any back-to-back situation, but if the Ducks fall behind early, they will not be able to rely on their stamina down the road to mount a comeback. They need to start quickly and get the first goal if they are going to put the Preds on their heels and continue applying pressure.