Good Thursday to you. Welcome to my “I can’t just do a weekly blog about a team that plays three times a week” blog.
The Nashville Predators have won 5 of 6 contests in this young season. Tonight, at 7pm, the Anaheim Ducks try to right their ship and possibly save Bruce Boudreau’s head coaching position. The Ducks are just 1-3-1 to start the new campaign, but that one win did come in 4-1 fashion at the expense of the Minnesota Wild this past Sunday. With a few days off to regroup, the team looks to veteran superstars Corey Perry and captain Ryan Getzlaf to supply some much needed offense. After all, this is a team that after five games boasts two players leading the team in scoring WITH JUST TWO POINTS. In fact, one of those two players is fourth line winger Mike Santorelli, who along with Buffalo defenseman Cody Franson, were the two Predators GM David Poile acquired at the trade deadline last season. Santorelli put up just four points in his twenty-two game stint in Nashville, and while an adequate player in this league, is not the guy you want co-leading your team in scoring with the firepower usually supplied by guys like Perry and Getzlaf remaining dormant.
Anton Khudobin, who was the winning netminder vs. the Wild is expected to get the start against a Nashville team that has a couple of forwards firing on all cylinders. James Neal has five goals in his last three games, and Filip Forsberg is also clicking at a point-per-game pace after the team’s first six contests.
Expect defensemen Ryan Ellis and Barrett Jackman to return to the Preds lineup, after missing the Tampa game on Tuesday with minor injuries. Forward Austin Watson is also expected to return, with speedy smurf Viktor Arvidsson expected to be a healthy scratch.
New faces on the Ducks include Carl Hagelin, who came over from the Rangers in an off season trade for Emerson Etem. Hagelin, along with linemates Perry and Getzlaf, has just one assist so far this season, and coming off successive 17 goal campaigns is still finding his way on the West Coast.
If you’re not going to be at Bridgestone, but are local to Nashville, Pete Weber will be calling the game on 102.5, and of course Willy Daunic and Stu Grimson handle the television play-by-play on one of those Fox Sports South sub-channels 🙂