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Game 29: Anaheim @ Nashville – Load the Buckshot


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Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America

There is no love loss between the Nashville Predators and the Anaheim Ducks. The Predators took out the Ducks last season for their first ever playoff series win and the Ducks have been reeling ever since. Can a coaching change in Anaheim finally usher in the change needed for the Ducks to start the climb back into playoff contention?

This Year’s Series: 2-0-0 (1-0-0 Home, 1-0-0 Away)

This Season’s Video Recaps:

Nov. 9 2011:

Oct. 29 2011:

Looking at the Ducks: A slow and steady decent into the bowels of the Western Conference, the Ducks are only one point above the Blue Jackets for last place. Despite an enviable offensive line-up, the trouble for the Ducks has been inconsistent goaltending and an absent defensive core.

Toni Lydman and Lubomir Vishnovsky have been ghosts on the ice and not nearly the threat they were in last year’s plus/minus or point categories. A head coaching change stifled the rumors that the Ducks may have been shopping Bobby Ryan, but the jury is still out on whether or not Coach Bruce Boudreau can steer the Ducks into the above .500 mark.

Looking at the Predators: It has been a wild three games for the Nashville Predators. Against Buffalo, the Predators outplayed the Sabres the entire game only to lose 3-2. In the match against Phoenix, the Predators played their patented 40 minute effort to drop another heart-breaker 3-2.

But against the league worst Columbus Blue Jackets, the Predators struggled all game to stifle the offensive weaponry of Columbus and didn’t launch an all-out attack until two minutes to go in regulation. The unimaginable happened and the Predators snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with an astounding 2 goals in the last two minutes and an overtime winner from Colin Wilson.

For the Ducks to win: Stay Disciplined. The best thing for the Ducks is to try and draw penalties and showcase their amazingly fast and capable power play. With sniper like Perry, Getzlaf, Selanne, Koivu and Ryan, the Ducks could have a field day if the Predators begin to start a parade to the penalty box.

Goaltending has been a huge issue for the Anaheim Ducks since Hiller hasn’t been the same since his battles with Vertigo symptoms last season. Although Predator fans can remember when Dan Ellis was a serviceable back-up, Anaheim needs Jonas Hiller to return to his All-Star form soon or it’ll make for a long season.

For the Predators to win: It wasn’t pretty but it sure was a memorable overtime win against the Blue Jackets. The Predators need to use this momentum for the next few weeks and get back in the winning form they were in after Rinne signed his new contract (4-0-1). The heroics against Columbus Thursday night were slightly reminiscent to how the Predators came from behind in Game 5 in the playoffs. If they can use this energy and swagger, they might have a shot at beating the Ducks for a third time this season.

Rinne has to have a little more confidence after his first win in eight starts. The defense in front of him has to clamp down and not allow Rinne to get hung out to dry. Weber and Suter are playing to their normal height of gamesmanship, but it’s up to Hillen, Josi, Bouillon and especially Klein to amp up their game and support their net minder.

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Stay HardCore, friends

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