The Nashville Predators (19-13-6) get a break from the Tennessee weather as they are in Southern California to take on the Anaheim Ducks (21-17-4) tonight at 9 p.m. the Honda Center.
All time, the Ducks have dominated the Preds in Orange county with a 18-2-3 record in their own building, but the Preds have gone 2-2-1 since the start of the 2008-09 season.
A Predator win tonight would move the Preds back into the top eight in the Western Conference. They currently sit in tenth place with 44 points while the Ducks are in sixth with 46 and would fall below the Preds with a loss as they have played four more games.
The two teams have already met twice this season. In the Preds opener in Nashville, on October ninth, the Predators beat a hapless Ducks squad 4-1. Then in Anaheim, on November 7, the Predators suffered a horrible loss when they forgot to play the last two seconds of the game and lost 5-4.
Both teams have been ravaged by injuries with the Preds playing without Marty Erat, Steve Sullivan, Cal O'Reilly, Matthew Lombardi and Jordin Tootoo. Anaheim is without captain Ryan Getzlaf and Jason Blake is questionable.
Pekka Rinne (10-10-4, 2.26, .920) will start in goal for the Predators and Jonas Hiller (19-13-3, 2.54, .925) is probable for the Ducks.
Preds Coach Barry Trotz, can move into a tie for sixth place on the all-time wins with one team list with a victory tonight. Currently, he is one win shy of Dick Irwin who had 431 wins with the Montreal Canadians between 1940 ad 1955.
After the game, the team will travel across town to play the Kings at Staples Center on Thursday night.
Other Game previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton, The Tennessean and Predators.com.
For the Southland view check out J.P. Hoonstra, The Battle of California, the OC Register, Anaheim Calling, and the LA Times.
In Pred Nation...
David Boclair recounts the evolution of the Predator penalty kill to the point that it is one of the best in the league.
The injury update from Josh Cooper includes surgery for Cal O'Reilly and Marty Erat out at least another week. Josh also captures Chris Mueller's special moment. He also has an article about Anders Lindback's medical condition.
Dirk Hoag was up early with his daily links highlighted by Preds prospects Ellis and Cehlin in the World Juniors today. Dirk also asks if the Preds should be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.
Jeremy at Section 303 is asking who should represent the Predators at the All-Star game.
The Spec wonders if Ryan Ellis has peaked out with this year's World Junior Championships.
Here is the latest update from Milwaukee where they will play three games in three nights this weekend.
On a very non glamorous note, the Predators announced a new $75 million credit facility led by local banks. J R Lind has an explanation of the deal that is more readable.
Jordin Tootoo's hometown paper reports on his rehab stint with a positive angle.
Robbie at Hockey Night in Nashville was bitten by at Rottweiler and asks the question, "Which hockey arena would you like to see a game in?"
World Junior Championships...
Tonight at 6:30 Central (NHL Network), Ryan Ellis and Team Canada will play Russia for the Championship. At 2:30 this afternoon, Patrick Cehlin and Sweden will play Team USA for the Bronz.
Around the NHL...
Last night's 1-0 overtime victory by the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Washington Capitals was a great game to watch and was a great debut by Dwayne Roloson who still had the Isles' logo on his mask.
The top six vote getters for the All-Star game were announced and include Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Letang, Keith and Toews. To me the remaining 36 players, 12 rookies, and the captain's selection will be a lot more interesting. Here is the final top ten which does not include Alexander Ovechkin and the complete list. The next 36 players will be announced on January 11.
Ryan Porth does the dirty work of giving the NHL a good list to go by to invite the remaining 36 players and 12 rookies.
It was no surprise that Sidney Crosby was the December star of the month with Roberto Luongo and Nicklas Lidstrom as the other two.
The final episode of HBO's 24/7 will run tonight at 9 p.m. Central and include clips from the Winter Classic itself. Before the show airs, Paul McCann and Pete Weber will have HBO Producer Ross Greenburg on SlapShot Radio at 6 p.m. to talk about the series and how it was made.
Matt Reitz looks at the roller-coaster ride that this NHL season has been.
Chris Botta looks at last summer's free agent signings and hands out grades. He generously give Mattew Lombardi and incomplete.
Stu Hackel takes a look at Dave Steckel's hit on Sidney Crosby in the second period of the Winter Classic. Steckel claims that he didn't realize that he hit him and Crosby is being accused of whining.
Joe Yerdon has five questions with Mike Milbury at PHT.
Roloson will be missed on the Island with DiPietro getting injured again but will he make a difference in the crowed Tamp Bay net? He did last night.
Intent to Blow has more on the DiPietro injury.
Down Goes Brown looks at the six Canadian teams at the halfway point of the season.
Odds and Ends...
Here is a new Droid app called Droid Streamer that may need a little work but has potential. It has on demand episodes of several TV shows and even a few movies and they are expanding the collection daily.
Snow in Vegas and just outside of Los Angeles on I-5 was a surprise to many this week. This is a real shock to thousands of folks in Vegas for CES.
Planely.com takes stalking to a new level as you can now find folks willing to admit that they are on the same flight as you and pester them before, during, and after the flight.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass