NHL: Predators face hapless Ducks as arena cleanup continues


The Anaheim Ducks have not had many positive experiences so far this season.

They enter the week with the fewest points in the NHL (13) and the worst goal differential (minus-36), with special teams woes keying their shortcomings. They are last in the league on the penalty kill (65.4 percent) and second-to-last on the power play (15.2).

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Going on the road can sometimes bring a team closer and turn around their fortunes. The Ducks will give that another try starting with a four-game road trip at the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night, although the team’s road mark of 2-9-1 is the worst in the Western Conference.

The Predators should be well rested after having to postpone two games because of a water main break just outside Bridgestone Arena that flooded the arena’s main concourse and event levels. The two postponed games have yet to be rescheduled.

Nashville hasn’t played since a 3-0 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. Before that game, the Predators had won four of five.

“It’s obviously nothing any of us wanted,” Predators forward Matt Duchene said of the postponements. “The team’s been playing great lately, it gets the momentum (going) and it’s disappointing not to have two great games at home on Thanksgiving weekend.”

The Predators went 3-0 against the Ducks last season, outscoring them 13-6 with Duchene collecting four goals and two assists in those games, and Filip Forsberg totaling three goals and five assists in two of the games.

Juuse Saros won all three games in goal against Anaheim, posting a 2.02 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. He’s expected to start against the Ducks on Tuesday after going 4-0-1 in his past five starts.

Forsberg is the hottest offensive player for Nashville coming in, owning 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 11 games this month.

Anaheim completed a three-game homestand in disappointing fashion on Sunday evening.

The Ducks battled back from three two-goal deficits against the Seattle Kraken to tie the score late in the second period, but their comeback grinded to a halt in the third period and they eventually lost 5-4.

The homestand began with Anaheim’s first regulation win of the season, 3-2 against the New York Rangers on Wednesday, but finished up with two more disappointing losses.

“It just seems like it’s been this cycle (with) us where we come out tentative, we’re not making plays, we’re backing off,” Ducks right wing Troy Terry said. “We get down 1-0 or 2-0 and then it’s like, ‘We’ve got to make a push here.’ We play hard. We play together. We make plays going up the ice. We tie the game and then we sit back again.”

To make things more difficult, Ducks goalie John Gibson left early in the third period after Anaheim defenseman Keven Shattenkirk fell on him during a Seattle scoring play, causing Gibson’s lower body to bend awkwardly.

Gibson didn’t appear to be limping when he exited the arena, and the Orange County Register reported Monday that Gibson made the trip to Nashville.

One of the bright spots from Sunday’s loss was the Ducks finishing 3-for-4 on the power play, scoring three power play goals in a game for the first time since a 4-1 win against the visiting Vancouver Canucks Nov. 9, 2017.

“We got that part done,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “We need to do that more often.”

–Field Level Media

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