Date: Tuesday, March 12th
Time: 7:00 PT / 10:00 ET
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim CA
Your Enemy: On The Forecheck
The Ducks and Predators are meeting for the third and final time this season, having split the series so far. While the Predators have had good underlying numbers overall this season, primarily on the defensive and goaltending side of the puck, they have been middle-of-the-road when it comes to scoring goals. Ranking 17th in the league with 2.94 goals per game isn’t exactly a world-beater scoring front.
Thus, with an improved defense and John Gibson in net, the Ducks could certainly make tonight’s game an interesting one.
Nashville comes into tonight’s game with a 5-5-0 record including being victims of two shutouts over that period. The lack of consistent scoring threats has thrown some doubt about how far this once overwhelming offensive team can go in the postseason.
Center Ryan Johansen leads the team with 55 points while Viktor Arvidsson look as though he will be Nashville’s only 30-goal scorer with 28 going into tonight’s game.
The Ducks, meanwhile, got back onto the Hughes/Kakko train by dropping the Freeway Faceoff Sunday night by a score of 3-2. A previous offensive outburst of 15 goals in three games led to only two goals against the Kings while struggling to get shots off.
Tonight will serve as a test to see which Ducks team will show up against a playoff contender with good defense and goaltending.
Keys To The Game
Nashville has dominated Anaheim in recent years, both confirmed by the eye test as well as the stat sheet. A speedy team built from one of the NHL’s best defensive core’s outward, the Ducks often find themselves flatfooted and fending off plenty of odd-man rushes. The Ducks may not have the same quality of skaters and puck movers as the Predators, but their recent play and influx of quick youth could have us looking at a different team tonight.
With John Gibson likely back in net tonight after Miller’s appearance against the Kings, it would be in the Ducks best interest to protect the best player on their team from having to make 400 saves like earlier in the season. Neutralize any threats of odd-man rushes, and the Ducks will have a chance.