NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, March 18th
(All times Eastern)
Nashville Predators (41-22-8) at Anaheim Ducks (30-31-11), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators can't afford a slump right now if
they want to have a chance at home-ice advantage in the opening round of the
The Preds try to avoid a third straight loss this evening in their final
2011-12 regular-season meeting with the Anaheim Ducks.
Nashville has 90 points on the season, good enough for the fifth overall spot
in the Western Conference. The Predators, though, are only two points behind
the Red Wings for the fourth seed and are four up on the sixth-place
Blackhawks with a game in hand over both clubs.
After having a three-game win streak snapped with Thursday's shootout loss in
San Jose, Nashville was handed a 4-2 setback by the Kings in Los Angeles last
night. Martin Erat had a goal and an assist, while Mike Fisher netted the
Pekka Rinne, tied for the NHL lead with 39 wins, allowed all four goals on 27
shots faced in defeat. The Predators are now on the verge of losing three in a
row for the first time since Feb. 7-11 as they wrap a four-game road trip this
"They used the neutral zone very well and we turned it over," Nashville's
Kevin Klein said. "We had our opportunities, but it got away from us in the
Nashville played without forward Paul Gaustad due to an upper-body injury
suffered versus San Jose and he is unlikely to suit up tonight either.
The Predators have a good chance of getting on track versus the Ducks
considering they have won five straight and seven of the past eight meetings.
A third straight victory in Anaheim tonight would give Nashville its first
ever series sweep of the Ducks.
Anaheim will try to prevent that from happening as it plays out the string.
The Ducks were one of the hottest teams in the league through January and most
of February, but their current 3-6-1 rut has just about ended their playoff
hopes. Anaheim sits 11 points out of a postseason spot with 10 games to play.
The Ducks lost for the fourth time in five games on Friday, dropping a 4-2
decision to the visiting Kings. Jonas Hiller was touched for three goals in
the first period, but rebounded to make 39 saves on 42 shots faced.
"I told our guys [the Kings have] been getting off to very fast starts, and
that's what they did," Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But we worked
hard and nearly came back."
Cam Fowler had a goal and an assist, Luca Sbisa also scored and Teemu Selanne
assisted on both tallies.
03/18 10:31:35 ET