Date: Monday, November 12th
Time: 7 PT / 10 ET
Location: Honda Center
TV: FS-W, PRIME
The Enemy: On The Forecheck
The Anaheim Ducks are in for a tough task when the play host to the Nashville Predators tonight. Anaheim continues to be absolutely outworked in shot differential. Nashville currently sits at the top of the Western Conference, and is averaging over 30 shots per game, meaning the Ducks will more than likely be relying on their netminder to keep them in the game.
Anaheim is currently coming off a loss to the Minnesota Wild, losing 5-1 and being doubled in the shots against versus shots for category. The loss puts them at 7-8-3 on the season and is their 9th in the last 11 games. Despite the dreaded run, the Ducks sit one point out of a Wild Card spot. However, they have the most games played in the West, so they are at a disadvantage.
The Nashville Predators, on the other hand, are doing quite well for themselves. They are riding a 5 game win streak heading into tonight. In four of those wins, they’ve allowed 1 goal or less. Pekka Rinne currently leads the league in both goals against and save percentage and should be nothing but confident going into a game against a team generating the least amount of shots per game this season.
Keys to the Game
Goaltending - It’s not past anyone that John Gibson and Ryan Miller are the only reason the Ducks have some wins this season. Gibson would most likely be leading the league in goalie stats were it not for his team bleeding shots against. Most wouldn’t argue that the only goalie tandem as good as Gibson/Miller is in fact Rinne/Saros. Once again, the game will be decided by how outstanding Anaheim’s goalie can be in keeping the game close. As for the Ducks, they need to get bodies in front of the net to generate screens as well as rebound chances. This is something Ryan Kesler has been very good at so far this season.
Top 6 dominance - The Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg line is together again and will most likely go up against Nashville’s top line. Kesler will hopefully do what he does best, which is piss off Ryan Johansen and cause chaos for that line. Meanwhile, Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell should take care of the scoring. Patrick Eaves is skating on their line and the three were quite a force two seasons ago before Eaves went to IR.
Players to Watch
Randy Carlyle is coaching this failing Ducks team. New system or not, he’s behind the bench calling the plays. Anyone who tries playing different and makes something happen is the person you should be watching. Any player that challenges the current system is the player that’s going to make a difference. Pontus Aberg, anyone?