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25-24-10

Ducks-Predators Preview

AP - Sports

After falling off the pace over the last few weeks, the Anaheim Ducks are surely looking forward to regrouping during the Olympic break.

A matchup against the Nashville Predators in their final game could help, too.

Looking to avoid a fourth consecutive loss, the visiting Ducks go for a fifth straight win over the Predators on Saturday night.

Anaheim (40-14-5) posted 4.0 goals per game during an 18-1-0 stretch, but it's since averaged 2.1 in going 4-6-0 over the last 10. The Ducks lost 2-0 to Chicago on Wednesday, going 0 for 5 on the power play.

"You're going to go through highs and lows scoring goals," Corey Perry, who leads the Ducks with 29 goals, told the team's official website. "Right now we're in a rough patch."

Anaheim has been shut out twice in dropping each of its three games this month. Captain Ryan Getzlaf - tops on the Ducks with 64 points - and Perry, who will both represent the Canadian team in Sochi along with Predators defenseman Shea Weber, have combined for one point during that skid.

The Ducks, 32-1-2 when scoring at least three goals, are on their longest skid since an 0-3-2 slide Nov. 12-20.

"Nobody likes to lose. We'll recover and get back at it," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "There are a lot of teams that would love to be in our position right now. We will overcome this and we're going to be fine. We're going to be there when it counts."

The Ducks now try to bounce back against the last-place Predators (25-23-10). Anaheim had lost six straight in this series before taking the last four, including a 4-3 road win Jan. 9 behind two goals and an assist from Getzlaf.

Perry also scored in that game, giving him three goals and eight assists over his last nine meetings with Nashville.

The Predators have earned at least one point in seven of eight games after suffering a 3-2 overtime loss at Minnesota on Thursday. Each of their last three games have gone past regulation.

Craig Smith scored his team-leading 17th and 18th goals, but the Predators were outshot 36-18. Carter Hutton made 33 saves in dropping to 6-1-2 over his last nine starts.

"There was some bad stuff that happened today, but we've got to come out and find a way to get two points," Hutton said. "Good for them. We weren't able to do it."

Earlier in the day, Nashville saw television announcer Pete Weber undergo emergency heart surgery and general manager David Poile hospitalized after getting hit by a puck that flew off the ice during the morning skate.

"It was a good road point considering all the stuff that went on," coach Barry Trotz said, adding: "We grind them out."

Anaheim's Jonas Hiller is 0-4-0 with a 3.39 goals-against average in his last five starts versus the Predators, though he hasn't faced them in nearly two years.

Since Hiller put together 14 consecutive wins to match the second-longest single-season run in NHL history, he's gone 1-5-0 while posting a 2.35 GAA in his last six.

Hiller could bounce back on the road, where he's gone 6-1-0 with a 1.97 GAA during a seven-start stretch.

Center Nick Bonino, third on Anaheim with 40 points, could miss a fourth straight game due to an apparent wrist injury.

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