The Anaheim Ducks are hoping for better results in this set of back-to-back games than they had against the exact same opponents last weekend.
They’ll try to end a five-game road skid when they visit the Nashville Predators for the second straight Saturday night.
Anaheim (18-19-7) is trying to gain a fifth straight postseason berth, and its bid this season looks similar to 2008-09 at this point. The Ducks used a late push to claim the eighth seed in the Western Conference and upset San Jose in the first round of the playoffs.
Anaheim is 10 points behind Pacific Division rival Los Angeles for the No. 8 seed.
“We’re really running out of time and the gap is just getting larger,” top goal scorer Bobby Ryan(notes) said. “Teams are playing too well in the Western Conference, so we need to put these games together here and on the road.
“This is a group that has all the tools, has everything we need for a run and we need to put things together to get at it.”
The Ducks will likely have to improve their play on the road to reach the playoffs, and they’ll get an opportunity to correct their problems from last weekend. Anaheim lost 3-1 at Nashville (26-15-3) and 5-2 in Chicago - the same opponents it will visit this Saturday and Sunday.
The Ducks have been outscored 22-8 in their last five road games, going scoreless in 14 power-play chances while their opponents went 5 for 13.
Anaheim’s power-play problems continued back home this week, going 0 for 9 in two games, but the team came away with wins over Detroit and St. Louis. Matt Beleskey(notes) scored in both games for his first two NHL goals, including the go-ahead tally with 2:40 remaining Thursday in a 4-2 victory over the Blues.
Ryan scored the equalizer earlier in the third period, ending a four-game goal drought with his 20th of the season.
Anaheim will be seeing a slightly different Nashville squad one week later since right wing Martin Erat(notes) is expected to be back after missing four games with a knee injury. The Predators, though, expect to be without Steve Sullivan(notes) after the veteran left Thursday’s 4-2 victory over Carolina after being checked into the boards.
Patric Hornqvist(notes) had two goals and an assist Thursday, and has three goals in Erat’s absence to take over the team lead with 16. The Swedish Olympian has 15 points (10 goals, five assists) in his last 12 games.
“I got three points, I am happy for that but I am more happy for the two points the team makes,” Hornqvist said.
Selanne has nine goals and 13 assists in his last 13 games against the Predators.