Anaheim Ducks 5-3-1
Nashville Predators 4-4-1
Martin Erat, who hasn't played since the season opener in Columbus, may be game ready on Saturday night
The last time the Ducks visited Nashville, it was April 24th, 2011 and David Legwand scored an empty net goal to clinch not only game six of the Western Conference quarter finals but also the series. Nashville won its first ever playoff series that night, taking out Anaheim in a spirited 6-games.
During those six games in April, Nashville accomplished a lot of firsts as an organization, including the team’s first overtime, game five and game six victories.
To start the season, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry each have four goals. Teemu Selanne has 3 goals and 6 assists to lead the team with 9 points.
On Saturday night, however, it won’t be the Finnish Flash or the antics of the Ducks that people will be watching. All eyes will be on Pekka Rinne, who has started all nine games for Nashville this season, setting a franchise record for most consecutive starts to start the season.
With some spectacular, if not near impossible, saves on Thursday, Rinne picked up his 99th career win. Saturday night, the Finnish netminder will be looking for his 100th career win. If Rinne is going to reach the 100 win mark at home, he will have to do so on Saturday. The Predators leave for a five-game road trip that starts on Monday night in Chicago.
During Thursday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Rinne made a glove save against Vincent Lecavalier, who appeared to have an empty net to shoot into for an easy goal. He was robbed by Rinne who says those saves aren’t special, they are needed to win games.
“It was just a scramble because they were on the power play. I gave up a rebound and someone made the pass to Lecavalier at the back door and I was just able to get my glove there. It was a big save at the time and we need those to win in this League,” Rinne said.
Nashville’s five goals equaled its offensive output from the previous four games combined. With five goals scored and continuous stellar play from Rinne, the Predators will try to build off the momentum and any confidence gained from Thursday’s win for Saturday night’s contest.
Rinne has a 6-2-2 regular season record against the Ducks and sports a 2.15 goals against average. A healthy Jonas Hiller should be in goal for Anaheim. Hiller has a 1-3-0 record with a 3.60 GAA against the Predators.
Nashville’s offense picked up on Thursday. Mike Fisher had a monster game scoring his first two goals of the season in his second game back from his off-season shoulder surgery.Fisher’s linemate, Sergei Kostitsyn, left the game in the second period and did not return when he was hit awkwardly into the boards by Tampa Bay’s Brett Connolly. However, during the post-game press conference head coach Barry Trotz seemed optimistic Kostitsyn would be able to play on Saturday night.
Trotz was also optimistic that the team will have Martin Erat back for Saturday’s contest against the Ducks. Erat is a game time decision, according to Ryan Porth of Smashville24/7 who attended practice on Friday.
Game time is at 7pm CT.
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