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The Anaheim Ducks are the defending Stanley Cup champions while the Nashville Predators were one of the league's best teams last season. The first three weeks of 2007-08 have proven just how little that means now.
The Ducks look to continue their success against the Predators on Wednesday night when the teams open their season series at the Honda Center.
After splitting their first two games against the Los Angeles Kings in England, the Ducks (3-4-1) lost three straight before rebounding to win two of their last three contests.
Samuel Pahlsson snapped a tie with a short-handed goal midway through the third period Monday, leading Anaheim to a 6-3 victory over visiting Detroit.
The goal was the first of the season for Pahlsson, who missed the first five games while recovering from sports hernia surgery.
Chris Pronger and Ryan Getzlaf each had three assists for the Ducks, whose six goals matched their combined total from the previous four games.
Defenseman Kent Huskins opened the scoring 1:56 into the game with his first NHL goal.
"It was a great feeling," said Huskins, a sixth-round draft pick by Chicago in 1998 who played in 33 regular-season games and 21 playoff games for the Ducks in 2006-07. "Our team's been having some problems scoring some goals, so to be able to contribute like that felt pretty good."
Missing from Anaheim's lineup Monday were forwards Todd Bertuzzi (concussion) and Todd Marchant (ankle) and defenseman Mathieu Schneider (ankle). Defenseman Scott Niedermayer and right wing Teemu Selanne are contemplating retirement while No. 1 goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere didn't play after making his season debut in Sunday's 2-0 loss to Minnesota.
"We were short-staffed. It's not easy to replace those people in your lineup, but it's a situation where other people have an opportunity to play more and others to step up," coach Randy Carlyle said.
Ilya Bryzgalov played well for the second consecutive game, stopping 32 shots. He has turned away 50 of 54 shots in his last two starts.
Giguere, recently recovered from sports hernia surgery, is 10-4-1 with three shutouts and a 1.69 goals-against average in his last 15 starts against the Predators.
Anaheim has dominated the series since Nashville entered the NHL in 1998-99, going 19-7-4 with two ties. The Ducks are 13-1-2 at home versus the Predators, including 9-0-2 in the last 11 meetings.
Nashville, which had a franchise-record 110 points last season, has been outscored 17-8 during a three-game losing streak.
Calgary scored three unanswered third-period goals Saturday, sending the Predators (2-3-0) to a 7-4 home loss.
"Our decision making the last two games has been atrocious," coach Barry Trotz said. "We dig ourselves a hole, fight back, then someone makes a poor decision and it ends up in our net."
Chris Mason was pulled for the second time this season after allowing six goals on 23 shots. His 3.75 GAA ranks 30th in the league.
"Turnovers are going to be there all year, but I have got to be there," Mason said. "It's my job to make some saves when we break down and keep us in the game."
Veteran center Jason Arnott has been a bright spot for the Predators with a team-best seven points. He has seven goals and three assists in his last nine games against Anaheim.
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