Saturday night, the Anaheim Ducks visit Bridgestone Arena to take on the Nashville Predators. It is the first meeting between the two clubs since Nashville won its first playoff series against Anaheim in April.
Corey Perry had 2 goals and 6 assists for 8 points in the Western Conference during the six-game quarter finals series last season. Perry says some players on the team have long memories.
“We know what is at stake. We know what they did to us last year,” the Hart Trophy winner said, adding, ”There are still a lot of guys who remember that on this team. It’s one of those things that where we have to go out there and prove we are a different team. We have to push harder.”
Head Coach Randy Carlyle agrees.
“You can’t change what has happened in history. You can use it to stimulate and motivate,” Carlyle said after morning skate on Saturday.
The former NHL defenseman assesses this year’s Predators squad. “I don’t know if they are that different. I think they feel comfortable with their group. I think they are a hockey club that can compete and take that next step,” Carlyle said, noting that the addition of Fisher took a lot of pressure of David Legwand.
While Carlyle also sung the praises of Jerred Smithson as a checking center, at the end of the day, the Ducks coach had one message.
“In the end, you need to prepare your team to play a hockey club that has only won one game in their building. To me that is a statement. They are not exactly playing where they would like to be,” he said.
Not everyone on the Ducks team is looking so closely at the matchup.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf sees Saturday night’s game as just one out of a long 82-game season.
“Not really,” Getzlaf laughed when asked about paying attention to tonight’s opponent as the team that took the Ducks out of the post-season. “Playoff matches and stuff are exciting and it is exciting to get back in this building and have another shot at it but we don’t put too much into it.”
The puck drops shortly after 7 pm CT.