Anaheim Ducks (33-12-6) at Nashville Predators (33-11-6)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 5, 2015, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Nashville Predators / Anaheim Ducks --- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
Two of the best teams in the National Hockey League get together on Thursday night in what should be the game of the night. The Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators are tied for the NHL and Western Conference lead with 72 points on the season with the Ducks having played one more game overall. Anaheim had lost two straight before rebounding on Tuesday night in a 5-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes that proved to be much more difficult than expected. Trailing 4-2 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game the Ducks got some life when Devante Smith-Pelly scored his fifth goal of the season to cut the Hurricanes lead to a goal. Corey Perry would then tie the game with his 21st goal of the season and send it into overtime. In the extra session it was Perry setting up Ryan Getzlaf with a beautiful centering feed that he would bury into the back of the net for the game winner. Frederik Anderson picked up his 28th win of the year but he did allow four goals on 32 shots in the game. Perry gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead just 37 seconds into the second period before Carolina would rebound with two goals of their own to take the lead. Ryan Kesler also scored his 14th goal of the year on the power play. Anaheim out shot the Hurricanes 13-3 in the first period but they couldn’t put one by Anton Khudobin. The Ducks rallied from two goals down in the third period despite being out shot 17-5 by the Hurricanes in the final 20 minutes.
Nashville enters Thursday night’s contest winners of two straight games and they’ve managed to stay competitive despite the loss of Pekka Rinne last month. Carter Hutton hasn’t been great by any stretch but he’s done enough to keep the Predators in games and give them chances to win games that they should. Rinne appears to be making progress so expect to see him back between the pipes for the Predators soon. Tuesday night the Predators appeared to be in control of their match up with the Toronto Maple Leafs before watching their lead fall apart early in the third period. Toronto scored twice to grab a 3-2 lead before Mike Fisher would even things up with his 13th goal of the season. Colin Wilson would score the game winner at 11:18 to give the Predators the 4-3 win. Hutton stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced to improve his record to 4-4-4 on the season.
This is a big game for the Predators to prove to a club like Anaheim that they’re one of the teams to beat in the Western Conference this season. Anaheim has been here before and despite their shortcomings in the post season of late there’s still a lot of belief in the Ducks organization. It’s hard to predict which Anaheim club we’ll see on a nightly basis right now. Nashville is playing well but Hutton in goal could be a big disadvantage against a club like this.