Preds regaining health ahead of trip to Anaheim

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Four nights after defeating two different opponents in the same game, the Nashville Predators will begin their first extended road trip of the season when they face the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night at the Honda Center.

The game will be the first between the teams since the Predators eliminated the Pacific Division's defending champions in the first round of last season's Stanley Cup playoffs. By winning the series' final two contests, Nashville became the fourth successive team to eliminate the Ducks from the playoffs in Anaheim during a seventh game after the Ducks held a 3-2 advantage.

The Predators' 2-1 victory in Game 7 also cost Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau his job.

Nashville enters the Wednesday game following a 5-1 win Saturday night against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Predators broke their three-game losing streak without center Mike Fisher, goalie Pekka Rinne and forwards Craig Smith and Colton Sissons, who were felled by a case of food poisoning that afflicted the team.

The lack of depth forced the Predators to recall five players from their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee. One of the replacements from the minor leagues, goalie Juuse Saros, stopped 34 of 35 shots in just his second NHL game.

"We could've gone out there and hoped our way through the game or waited for lucky bounces," Predators center Ryan Johansen said. "Every guy in this locker room went out there and attacked the game in full force. We kept our composure, and Juuse was phenomenal."

The four ill Predators returned to practice Monday, with Saros and two of the extra players returning to Milwaukee. But Nashville retained forwards Austin Watson and Harry Zolnierczyk from Milwaukee for the road trip. Forward Cody Bass, right winger Miikka Salomaki and defenseman Anthony Bitetto remain out with upper-body injuries.

"We're just making sure we have the numbers that we need," Predators coach Peter Laviolette told "We have Bass on injured reserve for a little bit, we have Salomaki and Bitetto out, so our numbers are down, and we're going on a trip."

Meanwhile, the Ducks return home after a 2-1 overtime loss Tuesday night to the San Jose Sharks, Stanley Cup finalists for the first time last season. Anaheim started this season 0-3-1, just like last year, but won the next two games before the Tuesday loss.

"I thought both goaltenders and our penalty kill got us a point," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said of the game in San Jose. "We didn't create enough offense. We slapped the puck around and uncharacteristically didn't move the puck well."

Ducks goalie John Gibson added, "You get a point, you get a point, but if you're going to be satisfied with one point, you're not going to get very far. It was a division game, a big game."

Corey Perry needs just one point to take over third place on the Ducks' all-time list. Perry and Paul Kariya share third place with 669 points.

"Obviously, you know what he did for this organization," Perry told the Orange County Register. "To have my name beside his is a tremendous honor and a tremendous feat for what's gone on in this organization as a whole."