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Morning Report: Hiller Back in Net vs. Predators

Friday, 04.4.2014 / 12:30 PM PT / News
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Morning Report: Hiller Back in Net vs. Predators
By Kyle Shohara

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.”

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.”

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.”

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

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).




1 CHI 58 36 18 4 160 134 76
2 DAL 55 35 15 5 178 147 75
3 STL 57 31 17 9 138 133 71
4 LAK 54 33 18 3 151 128 69
5 COL 58 29 25 4 155 160 62
6 SJS 53 28 20 5 154 143 61
7 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
8 NSH 55 25 21 9 142 148 59
9 ARI 54 25 23 6 143 164 56
10 MIN 54 23 21 10 133 134 56
11 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
12 CGY 54 25 26 3 144 160 53
13 WPG 54 24 27 3 139 157 51
14 EDM 56 22 29 5 138 168 49


R. Getzlaf 49 5 35 9 40
C. Perry 53 21 17 -4 38
R. Rakell 50 13 15 -3 28
R. Kesler 53 11 15 -8 26
S. Vatanen 53 6 19 -1 25
C. Stewart 47 8 10 2 18
J. Silfverberg 53 6 12 -2 18
A. Cogliano 53 6 11 -9 17
H. Lindholm 52 6 8 -6 14
C. Fowler 40 3 9 -10 12
F. Andersen 11 8 6 .920 2.30
J. Gibson 12 8 2 .917 2.13

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