NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taking penalties is a penchant the Ducks have been unable shake as they head into a contest against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.
It is the Ducks’ first visit since May when they lost Game 6 of the Western Conference finals to the Predators, whose 6-3 victory propelled them to their first-ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.
This team isn’t the same one that took the ice months ago. The Ducks are without Ryan Getzlaf (cheekbone) and Ryan Kesler (hip) but also, in an ironic twist, won’t have Rickard Rakell (upper body) and Patrick Eaves (illness). Rakell and Eaves did not play in Game 6 last spring due to injuries.
But they did get back Ondrej Kase after a 10-game absence due to a head injury. There is also the possibility that Jakob Silfverberg (upper body) comes back to the lineup after missing Friday night’s 4-2 loss to Columbus.
The Ducks (11-11-4) had their opportunities to win but Josh Anderson’s goal in the third period proved decisive. Hampering their efforts were repeated visits to the penalty box. Nine minors were taken, with seven creating power plays for Columbus.
Chris Wagner and Kevin Bieksa each took two, while Logan Shaw’s delay of game penalty for putting the puck over the glass left them with a 5-on-3 disadvantage to kill off. The Ducks did so but also allowed the NHL’s worst power play to convert one on Artemi Panarin’s second-period goal for a 2-2 tie.
Lack of discipline had Ducks coach Randy Carlyle steaming but it has been a continual issue. They’re either second or third in minor penalties, total penalty minutes and average minutes penalized per game. They’re 10th in penalty killing at 82.6 percent but have been shorthanded 109 times.
“Seven penalties, it’s tough to gain any momentum really,” Ducks winger Andrew Cogliano said. “It’s tough to sustain a forecheck and really outplay them at any time because you’re constantly killing penalties.”
Ryan Miller (2-0-3, 2.06 GAA, .935 SV%) is expected to get the start after John Gibson played Friday and made 27 saves against the Blue Jackets. On a back-to-back situation, Carlyle could bring in Korbinian Holzer on defense and Kalle Kossila at center as possible lineup changes. If Silfverberg returns, Logan Shaw would likely drop to the fourth line.
Here is the projected lineup for the Ducks:
Nick Ritchie-Adam Henrique-Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano-Chris Wagner-Logan Shaw