Nashville and Anaheim will face-off for the third and final time this year at 9 P.M. Central Wednesday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The Ducks keep on rolling with timely wins and consistent scoring from their top two lines. The Predators finally showed the home fans that they can put pucks in the back of the net winning against Dallas on Monday in overtime 5-4.
With Chicago having a record setting opening to the season, the Anaheim Ducks and their 13-3-1 record have been overlooked by many in the NHL. The Ducks have solid scoring from their normal “Murderer’s Row” of talent namely their top two lines: Getzlaf, Ryan, Perry, Koivu, Selanne and Winnik. Team leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf has 18 points and the team lead in goals with six. The elder statesmen in Koivu and Selanne are just behind Getzlaf with 16 points.
For the Predators who were shutout in back-to-back games, the goals came a-plenty against the Dallas Stars. Nashville drew first blood in the first, but a strong second period effort by the Stars led to a two goal lead. The Predators were able to bounce back with a PP goal by Hornqvist and a parting-of-the-sea five-holer by Fisher to knot it up in the third. The overtime period would see Roman Josi net his second goal of the night and cap off a four-point night for the rookie blueliner.
Viktor Fasth got his first loss of the season Monday night against the L.A. Kings. Before that setback, he had won eight straight including both contests against the Predators this year in the shootout. With a GAA of 2.01 and a .924 SV%, Fasth has quickly taken the workload of Jonas Hiller who is 5-2-1 on the year with an abysmal 3.34 GAA. Jonas Hiller has shown glimpses of greatness but his inconsistency has allowed Fasth to sneak in and take the Ducks starting role, and with an 8-1-0 start looks to be keeping that gig.
Now that Rinne finally got some scoring help from his teammates, he has to begin stealing games for the Predators on a regular basis. Rinne had let in 9 goals over the last two games: very un-Rinne. He is still leading the NHL in shutouts (with Phoenix Mike Smith) and has the fifth best GAA (1.90). With more goal support, Rinne can focus on his job and know that the team can step up and light the lamp, so a game like the one against Vancouver where Rinne stood on his head and still lost 1-0, won’t go unrewarded.
Two Predators finally woke up in the Dallas game and scored two very important goals. Fisher’s tear down the middle splitting the defense and finishing off with a stellar backhand five-hole score was reminiscent of his days in Ottawa. Fisher has been called upon to be a leader for the team this year and what better way than to lead by example and score timely game-tying goals. Hornqvist scored his first goal since coming back from a leg injury sustained against the Ducks. While only his second goal of the season, if Hornqvist can start potting the rubber more often this opens up the possibilities of scoring threats like Wilson and Erat to capitalize on the 5 on 5 or PP units.
Game time is at 9 P.M. Central time and can be heard on 102.5 the Game and viewed locally on FS Tennessee. If you like what you’re reading or have questions/comments feel free to write us below or follow us on Twitter @Preducated and @ThePredatorial.