Anaheim (16-17-7) at Nashville (24-14-3)

Cloudy Currently: Nashville, TN
Temp: 36° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Sat Jan 2, 2010
  • TV: FSPT
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Nashville Predators did not have any problems in their first game since learning they will be without leading scorer Martin Erat(notes) for a few games when they faced one struggling team.

The Predators will be facing another last-place club Saturday night when they try to end a three-game skid against the Anaheim Ducks.

Erat will be out for 7-10 days after suffering a knee injury in Tuesday’s 4-3 victory at St. Louis. Coach Barry Trotz said the hit by Blues defenseman Barret Jackman(notes) that knocked out Erat was a dirty play.

The right wing tied a franchise record with 10 goals in December. He leads Nashville (24-14-3) with 27 points, including 14 goals.

The Predators didn’t miss a beat without him in a 2-1 overtime victory at Columbus on Thursday. David Legwand(notes) scored the game-winner after rookie Andreas Thuresson(notes) tied the game in the third period.

“Any time when you can find a way to win in the opposition’s barn, it’s a big night,” Legwand said. “We knew they were going to be focused.”

Nashville never lost its focus despite trailing for most of the game. It helped that they were facing the Blue Jackets, an opponent the Predators are 4-0 against that is at the bottom of the Central Division.

“I knew we were going to be able to get one (goal) at some point if we just stayed with it long enough,” Trotz said.

Like Columbus, Anaheim (16-17-7) has 39 points for the second-lowest total in the Western Conference. The Ducks, though, have proven to be a more difficult foe in winning their last three meetings with the Predators.

That includes a 4-0 home victory Nov. 5 behind Jonas Hiller’s(notes) 40 saves for his lone shutout of the season. Teemu Selanne(notes) scored twice for Anaheim, but he’s currently out after hand surgery.

The Ducks, who are last in the Pacific, have lost three straight on the road after a 5-3 loss at Dallas on Thursday. Anaheim held a 2-1 lead in the second period before yielding two goals in a 30-second span and never recovered.

“Somewhere along the way in the first period we lost our composure,” forward Bobby Ryan(notes) said. “These games should be easy to get up for, and for whatever reason we’re not coming through.”

Saku Koivu(notes) scored twice and rookie Dan Sexton(notes) added two assists to continue his surge. Sexton has six goals and five assists in his last 11 games.

Nashville is starting a four-game homestand that concludes next Saturday with another visit by Anaheim. The Predators have won four of six at home against the Ducks.

“You always want to end the year on a winning note. To go into the new year with that same momentum is big for us,” Nashville goaltender Dan Ellis(notes) said. “We’ve got a big homestand coming up. We want to be hitting on all cylinders.”

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Saturday, Jan 2