Anaheim will look to quickly bounce back from a loss in a meeting with the Predators on Saturday night in Nashville.
A rematch of last season's Western Conference Quarterfinals, the Ducks and Predators have met twice already this season. Nashville came away with wins on Oct. 29 at Bridgestone Arena and Nov. 9 at Honda Center.
With the second-fewest points in the conference, the Ducks (8-15-5) have plenty of work in front of them before they can start thinking about playoff hockey.
Still, new coach Bruce Boudreau feels that his team has plenty of promise despite his 1-2-1 mark since replacing Randy Carlyle on Nov. 30.
Anaheim lost 4-2 at St. Louis on Thursday after pulling to within one on Devante Smith-Pelly's goal early in the third period.
"You saw that we never quit," Boudreau said. "In the four games I've been here, you can tell this team has a lot of heart."
The Ducks, though, could use a lot more offense on the road as they play six of their next seven away from Anaheim. The club has been outscored 26-11 during its road skid and is averaging 1.7 goals away from home - last in the league.
Increasing that production could be a challenge if Pekka Rinne is in net for Nashville. While Rinne has gone 1-5-1 with a 3.79 goals-against average in his last eight starts, the Ducks have brought out the best in last season's Vezina Trophy runner-up.
Rinne made 20 saves to set a franchise record with his 22nd shutout Oct. 29, then stopped 31 shots in a 4-2 road victory over Anaheim on Nov. 9. Including last postseason, he has gone 10-2-0 with a 2.35 GAA in his last 12 starts versus the Ducks.
Anaheim counterpart Jonas Hiller has allowed seven goals in the two matchups this season. He surrendered early goals in both games, as Hornqvist scored 14 seconds in Oct. 29 and rookie Craig Smith needed 1:20 to give the Predators a 1-0 lead last month.
Hornqvist has four goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak against Anaheim.
Ducks left wing Bobby Ryan has three goals in the last two games, but he has not found the back of the net in eight career contests in Nashville.
The Predators (13-11-4) begin their four-game homestand following a 4-3 overtime victory over Columbus on Thursday. Down by two, Nashville forced the extra period on goals by Hornqvist and Sergei Kostitsyn in the final 1:36 of regulation.
Colin Wilson's score got Nashville back into the win column following two straight home losses.
"We just kind of hung around," captain Shea Weber said.
The same was true in the Predators' previous road game - a 6-5 win over Vancouver on Dec. 1 in which they rallied from two down midway through the second period.
Nashville, though, is 4-5-3 on home ice. The club last dropped five in a row at home during a six-game skid there Feb. 21-March 20, 2008.
|AnaheimDucks.com is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and AnaheimDucks.com are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.|