Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau isn’t happy about his club’s slow starts through two games on this homestand.
The Ducks, though, can cap it with a fourth victory in a row Friday night when they look to defeat the Nashville Predators for the sixth straight time.
Anaheim (50-18-8) opened the homestand with Monday’s 5-4 overtime victory over Winnipeg, rallying from three goals down in the third period. The Ducks then fought back from a 2-0 deficit in the third in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Edmonton.
Both of those opponents won’t make the postseason. That has Boudreau concerned as his club tries to hold off San Jose for the Pacific Division title and catch St. Louis for the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.
"We can’t play like this," Boudreau said. "What’s going to happen is we’re going to be playing in the playoffs and you’re not going to come back from 2-0 leads or 4-1 leads in the third period. So we’ve got to learn to play from the get-go."
The objective Friday is to get off to a much better start against another team that likely won’t make the playoffs. The Ducks fell behind in both meetings with the Predators (33-32-11) but are seeking to sweep the season series for the second straight campaign.
"Well obviously we want to play with the lead once in awhile and hopefully we’ll do that on Friday against Nashville," defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. "They’re a really hard-working team that matches us really well in the last few years so it’s not going to be easy."
Anaheim had dropped six in a row to Nashville before winning the last five. Ryan Getzlaf has turned in three consecutive three-point efforts versus the Predators.
Getzlaf has 10 points in his last seven games for the Ducks, and that’s one fewer than linemate Corey Perry has in the same span.
Perry scored twice Wednesday to give him a West-leading 41 goals – his highest total since he had a career-best 50 in 2010-11. He has seven points in the five-game run versus Nashville.
Anaheim notched its 50th victory and is two points shy of matching the franchise record of 110 set in 2006-07, when it won its lone Stanley Cup.
"The idea of winning 50 games is pretty cool, quite frankly," Boudreau said. "There’s only going to be a few teams that do it, and when you’re one of them, it’s quite an accomplishment. I’m pretty proud of the guys for 50 wins."
The Predators will start a three-game trip after not playing since Sunday’s 4-3 home shootout win over Washington. Patric Hornqvist scored twice and Craig Smith had the lone tally in the shootout.
Center Nick Spaling could return after missing the Capitals game with a lower-body injury. Rookie defenseman Seth Jones has missed the last four games with a concussion.
Nashville is last in the Central Division and 12th among the West’s 14 teams.
"We want to be realistic," coach Barry Trotz said. "Our moons have to absolutely align to somehow get in but realistically we’ve got a lot of pride in that room. As I’ve said before, this group has a backbone, a professionalism, a resolve."