Morning Report: Hiller Back in Net vs. Predators

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 3:30 PM / News
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Morning Report: Hiller Back in Net vs. Predators
The regular season is quickly winding down, as tonight marks game No. 77 for the Ducks. After tonight\u2019s bout with the Nashville Predators, there will only be five remaining until the real fun begins. But before the focus can turn to the playoffs, the Ducks must take care of business here at Honda Center against a Predators team that hasn\u2019t played since Sunday.
MORNING SKATE PHOTOS
By Kyle Shohara
AnaheimDucks.com

The regular season is quickly winding down, as tonight marks game No. 77 for the Ducks. After tonight’s bout with the Nashville Predators, there will only be five remaining until the real fun begins.

But before the focus can turn to the playoffs, the Ducks must take care of business here at Honda Center against a Predators team that hasn’t played since Sunday. Slow starts have plagued the Ducks as of late, but the team has managed to go 5-0-1 over their past six games. Anaheim sits a point ahead of the Sharks in the Pacific Division race, and three away from the Western Conference- and NHL-leading Blues.

The Ducks enter tonight’s game one victory shy of matching the club record for home wins in a single season (28 wins in 2007-08). Overall, the Ducks have gone 27-7-4 through 38 games at Honda Center this season.

“We want to be good everywhere,” said defenseman Ben Lovejoy. “But right now, we’re going to be one of the top seeds, and that means home ice advantage. All year, we’ve wanted to send a message that Honda Center is going to a tough place to win a regular season game, and hopefully an even tougher place to play a playoff game.”

ON THE PREDS
The offseason will begin a little sooner than the Predators had envisioned, as the team will miss the postseason for the second consecutive season. But regardless of where they sit in the standings (last place in the Central Division), Predators coach Barry Trotz will make sure his troops bring the same energy and effort night in and night out.

“This is a hard-working, good defensive team,” said Lovejoy. “They’ve got some real studs back on defense, and some of the best goaltending in the league. It’s a team that works every night. We have to be ready from the start.”

One of those “studs” on the backend is captain Shea Weber, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time NHL All Star. Boasting one of the most intimidating slap shots in the league, Weber leads the team in goals (21), assists (29) and points (50).

“He’s so big and so good defensively,” said Lovejoy. “He has that shot that makes want to push guys out of the way so Jonas [Hiller] can handle it tonight. It takes some real toughness to stand there when he’s shooting.”

“With four days off, I expect them to be really hungry and aggressive,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. “They’ve only lost one out of their last five. They’re playing a lot better, and more indicative of the team they are now that they have Pekka Rinne back.

“We told our guys if you think it’s going to be easy, you’re in for a big mistake. We’ve always known them as one of the hardest-working teams in the league.”

HILLER GETS THE START
Jonas Hiller
will get his first start since March 28 in Edmonton. Backup netminder Frederik Andersen has started the past three games, and Boudreau said the reasoning was more about giving Hiller a breather.

Hiller ranks tied for 11th in the NHL in wins (29) and tied for third in shutouts (5), and also leads the team in saves (1,191) and appearances (48). Hiller has a 2.01 GAA and a .927 SV% (16-5-4, one ND) with four shutouts at Honda Center this season.

“He just needed a mental rest,” said Boudreau. “He’s been very sharp in practice the last two days, and we’re expecting a big game from him tonight.”

EXPECTED LINE COMBINATIONS
Nick Bonino-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon-Mathieu Perreault-Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano-Saku Koivu-Teemu Selanne
Daniel Winnik-Rickard Rakell-Tim Jackman

Francois Beauchemin-Stephane Robidas
Hampus Lindholm-Ben Lovejoy
Luca Sbisa-Bryan Allen

DUCKS-PREDATORS
Anaheim hosts Nashville for the first time since Feb. 16, 2013 as the two clubs conclude a three-game season series. The Ducks are 32-18-7 vs. the Predators, including a 20-5-3 record in Orange County. Anaheim has won five straight over Nashville to match its all-time best (also March 5, 1999 - April 7, 2000). The Ducks earned a 4-3 victory in the series opener on January 9 in Nashville, keyed by Teemu Selanne’s 109th career game-winning goal to match Brendan Shanahan for fifth on the all-time GWG list. On February 8, Anaheim went into its 10-day Olympic break with a 5-2 victory in Nashville. Ryan Getzlaf led all skaters with three points (2g/1a).

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48

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