First-round series set: Ducks vs. Predators. Updates with schedule.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday means the Ducks will host the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs.

The Ducks had the day off Sunday, but will get back to practice at 10 a.m. Monday with their next opponent in mind.

Update: Here is the first-round schedule:

Game        Date                               Venue                                Time (Pacific)
1                Wednesday, Apr. 13         Honda Center                     7:30 p.m.
2                Friday, Apr. 15                 Honda Center                     7:30 p.m.
3                Sunday, Apr. 17               Bridgestone Arena              TBD
4                Wednesday, Apr. 20         Bridgestone Arena              TBD
5                Friday, Apr. 22                 Honda Center                     7:00 p.m.
6                Sunday, Apr. 24               Bridgestone Arena              TBD
7                Tuesday, Apr. 26              Honda Center                     TBD

*If necessary

What can the Ducks expect from the Preds?

The Predators dominated the Ducks in the regular season (for whatever it’s worth), winning three of the four meetings: 5-4 in Nashville on
March 24, 4-1 in Anaheim on Jan. 5, and 4-1 in Nashville on Oct. 9 —
the Ducks’ second game of the regular season and the first for the
Predators.

The Ducks’ lone win in the series came Nov. 7 in
Anaheim, a wild game that saw Paul Mara score with 1.7 seconds left to
clinch the 5-4 victory. It was Mara’s only goal in 33 games as a Duck
before he was traded to Montreal.

The Predators and Ducks have
been two of the league’s hottest teams since March 1. Anaheim is 14-5-0
since that time, Nashville 12-4-3.

No Western Conference playoff team has scored less than the Predators’ 219 goals. Nashville has no 60-point scorers (the Ducks have five) and only two 50-point scorers, Sergei Kostitsyn (23-27-50) and Martin Erat (17-33-50).

The top line of Kostitsyn at left wing, Mike Fisher at center (19-17-36) and right wing Patric Hornqvist (21-27-48) caught fire late in the season. Kostitsyn had an 11-game point streak snapped, and Fisher had a six-game point streak snapped, in a season-ending shutout loss Saturday in St. Louis.

Nashville is more accustomed to winning games with a strong trap defense and goaltending. Pekka Rinne (33-22-9, 2.12 GAA, .930 save percentage) ranks third in the league in goals-against average and second in save percentage. As a team, the Predators rank fourth in the NHL in takeaways.

Defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter play as much as any defensive duo in the league, and Weber’s 16 goals, 32 assists and plus-7 rating will likely make him among the finalists for the Norris Trophy.

Defenseman Jonathan
Blum, who was born in Long Beach and grew up in Rancho Santa Margarita,
is averaging 17:45 since making his NHL debut at midseason.

This entry was posted in Anaheim Ducks/NHL and tagged by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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