After a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory in Columbus on Thursday night, the Predators return to Smashville to play the Anaheim Ducks tonight (7 p.m. FS-TN) and hope to have a little quicker start than they have had in recent games.
Against the Jackets, the Predators had zero offense in the beginning and did not get their second shot until there was 2:29 seconds left in the opening period. The Preds are near the bottom of the league in shots, averaging 26.3 shots per game which barely eclipses last place Minnesota who has 26.0.
The Predators have only out shot their opponents five times this season and were ten games into the season before they out shot the Ducks 29-20 on October 29th which was a 3-0 shutout.
This will be the third meeting of the year between the Preds and the Ducks and the last at Bridgestone Arena. In addition to the October shutout from Pekka Rinne, the Preds won 4-2 in Anaheim on November 9.
The Ducks have had a turbulent season this year, bringing an 8-15-5 record into tonight's game. The poor start cost Randy Carlyle his job when he was replaced by Bruce Boudreau last week. The team is 1-2-1 under the new coach and little appears to have changed.
On the flip side, Predators coach Barry Trotz will move past Billy Reay into third place all time in consecutive games with one team at 1013 when the puck drops tonight. Only Al Arbour (1500) and Lindy Ruff (1093) lie ahead of Trotz.
The Predators are hoping to even their home record (4-5-3) with a win tonight. The team has traditionally played well at home and needs to get on a run to re-establish their home ice dominance.
After struggling for years on the man-advantage, the Predators have moved into fourth place in the NHL on the power play with a 20.2% success rate. The Ducks are usually near the top on the power play but are languishing in 15th place (17.5%) so far this year.
It is expected that the two squads will send their top netminders out for tonight's game. Pekka Rinne (11-9-4, 2.61, .920) broke his personal six game losing streak on Thursday. Jonas Hiller (7-12-5, 3.12, .901) has also struggled this year with little support on defense in front of him.
Update from @AnaheimDucks: Dan Ellis (1-3-0, 2.23, .929) will be in net tonight for the #NHLDucks to face his former team in Nashville.
After tonight's game, the Predators will remain home for games with Calgary, Detroit and St. Louis next week.
For POTG ticket pricing go here and use the special offer code "preds" here to get the best prices for the match with the Ducks and all remaining Predator home games.
For other Predator previews, check out Amanda DiPaolo, Ryan Porth, Patten Fuqua, Jeremy Gover, Dirk Hoag, Paul McCann, Predatorial, The Tennessean, and Predators.com.
Ryan Porth has an audio clip with Jerred Smithson previewing tonight's game.
For Ducks previews go to O C Register, Long Beach Press-Telegram, L A Times, L A Daily News, Ducks Blog - Adam Brady, Anaheim Calling, Battle of California, ESPN- Los Angeles, Press Enterprise, Daily Ducks Blog, Ducks and Cover, Ducks and Pucks, Quackalackin', and Brian Kennedy - Inside Hockey.
For the complete Game Notes from NHL Media Services go here.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass