Matchups at the Honda Center have always given the Nashville Predators trouble. A deflating loss to the Western Conference’s top team certainly won’t help their confidence entering another contest there.
The playoff-hopeful Predators look to put aside a disappointing defeat when they visit the struggling Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Nashville (36-26-5) blew a 4-2 lead in the final period of an 8-5 loss to San Jose on Thursday night. The Predators - 1-1 on a four-game road trip that concludes Sunday in Los Angeles - fell apart after dominating the first two periods of what could be a playoff preview.
Though Nashville is in playoff position, it is hardly guaranteed of returning to the postseason following a one-year absence. The Predators have fallen into a tie with Calgary for seventh in the West, leading ninth-place Detroit by one point.
Losing to teams such as the Ducks (30-28-8) won’t help Nashville’s cause.
The Predators are 4-14-3 all-time at Anaheim, and have allowed 16 goals - eight on the power play - while dropping three of the last four matchups. They fell 4-0 at the Honda Center on Nov. 5, and also lost 3-2 to the Ducks at home Jan. 9 to fall to 1-2-0 in the season series.
Nashville’s offense, which had two goals in each of its previous three games, produced better in Thursday’s loss as Patric Hornqvist(notes) and J.P. Dumont(notes) each scored twice. Dumont has had three straight strong games at Anaheim, posting three goals and one assist.
Anaheim hardly appears primed for its customary strong effort against Nashville. The Ducks have dropped four straight overall and three in a row at the Honda Center following a franchise-record 11-game winning streak there.
The slump has dealt a major blow to Anaheim’s quickly fading postseason aspirations. With 16 games left, the Ducks are nine points out of playoff position.
“The odds aren’t in our favor,” left wing Bobby Ryan(notes) said. “There was a time where we could have controlled our own fate, but that might not be the case now. We’re not in the driver’s seat anymore. You can’t come out of a break and lose four straight. It’s unacceptable. Nothing’s gone well. … We’re not getting the proper level of execution that we should be accustomed to with this lineup. It’s been ugly.”
The Ducks were leading the NHL with a 26.5 power-play success rate in home games prior to going a season-worst 0 for 7 in a 5-2 loss to Columbus on Tuesday night. Anaheim is 1 for 15 with the man advantage over its last three games overall, as the team moves closet to missing the playoffs for the first time since 2004.