Friday, April 15, 2011
Ducks: Pieces in place for Game 2
By Dan Arritt
Western Conference quarterfinals
Ducks (0-1) vs. Nashville Predators (1-0) at Honda Center, 7:30 p.m.
Five storylines to track:
1. Emery is the man – Ray Emerygot the nod to start in goal following the morning skate.'He missed the final two regular season games and did not start the playoff opener due to a lower-body injury. He replaced Dan Ellis early in the third period Wednesday night after Ellis allowed four goals on 24 shots in the 4-1 loss. The last time Emery replaced Ellis and went on to start the next game, he won six in a row. The Ducks could sure use another streak like that.
2. Rush hour – Leading up to Game 1, the Ducks talked a lot about getting traffic in front of the net to screen Pekka Rinne's view as pucks sailed toward him at 120 mph. Turns out, the only goalie they screened was Ellis. Rinne, second in the league during the regular season in save percentage and third in goals-against average, said after the game he had no problem seeing the pucks. Ellis, on the other hand, said three of the goals by Nashville were the result of screens or deflections.
3. Depth decisions – Ducks coach Randy Carlyle might think twice when he pencils in his lineup tonight. He stayed with left wing Matt Beleskey for the opener but Beleskey was whistled for two penalties in the opening eight minutes. The first led to a power play goal by Nashville and a 1-0 lead, which turned out to be the winner. Carlyle could try scrapper Kyle Chipchura, or a more-skilled option in Nick Bonino, who played 26 games for the Ducks this season before he was assigned to the AHL and recalled for the playoffs.
4. Ground Hog’s Day – Corey Perry may want to request that the Ducks not host Nashville on a Wednesday night next season. The team’s leading scorer produced similar numbers to a Wednesday night in early January, when Anaheim lost to the visiting Predators by the same 4-1 score. Perry, who led the league with 50 goals this season, finished with no points in Game 1 for just the second time in the last 13 games, four shots on goal and a minus-three rating. In the loss in January, he finished with no points, five shots on goal and a minus-three rating.
5. More injury news– Along with Emery, it appears defenseman Francois Beauchemin is good to go after missing Thursday’s practice with a lower-body ailment that has been nagging him a while, Carlyle said. Beauchemin played his usual minutes in Game 1 but, like most of his teammates, didn’t have an impact. Though he hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations he set as a member of the Ducks during their Stanley Cup championship run in 2006-07, his experience in playoff games is a big plus. It was pretty obvious during Wednesday’s game that Anaheim rookie defenseman Cam Fowler was struggling with puck management, which could be the result of the postseason nerves.