The Nashville Predators have a 2-1 series lead; let's not forget that. Did any of us expect this? Sure, but not particularly in the fashion that it happened in with the Preds taking both games in Anaheim.
Outside of Game 1, the game to be circled in any playoff series (excluding Game 7 of course) is Game 4 and that notion has held true as the Preds look to force the Ducks into do-or-die mode with a win while the Ducks look to re-gain every bit of momentum in the series.
The Anaheim Ducks
If you haven't read up on these guys already, check out our series previews.
If we are going off of what we saw on Tuesday night, the Ducks will look for secondary forwards such as Chris Stewart, Jamie McGinn and Rickard Rakell to have a scoring impact during the contest. When it comes to even strength play, Anaheim controlled the game on Tuesday out chancing the Preds by a count of 17-10. The aforementioned trio was responsible for seven of the team's 17 scoring chances.
Outside of the fact that the Ducks out played the Predators in Game 3, there is not much to say about what we may see in Game 4 of the series. Yes, it will be a physical contest between the two clubs, but that is a given.
The Ducks managed to shutdown the Preds' top line pretty handedly on Tuesday with the likes of Cam Fowler and Jakob Silfverberg causing the most havoc among the group. Keep an eye out early on as to how those two come out of the gates against the top guys for Nashville.
The Nashville Predators
The Predators had five power play chances in Game 3, but it isn't a good sign when Ryan Kesler fixing his helmet on the ice is the highlight of those chances.
Ryan Kesler forgetting how to buckle his helmet conveniently during a #Preds power play: pic.twitter.com/7gJFPsv9Vh— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) April 20, 2016
The Predators will likely look different tonight with Craig Smith out of the lineup. Smith suffered a lower-body injury on Tuesday night, and that is about all we know, nevertheless how about we give a warm welcome to Mr. Colin Wilson.
#Preds lines w/o Smith:— Kristopher Martel (@kmartel_sports) April 20, 2016
That may change.
While Smith was dynamite in the first two games of the series, the Predators could certainly be in worse shape when it comes to Wilson jumping into the top-six. Wilson has one goal and one helper through three games this post season to go along with an even strength Corsi For percentage of 62.9 percent (via War On Ice).
One thing to note, according to Puckalytics, Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro and Wilson played just three minutes of even strength play together during the regular season so finding a groove may take some time which is a tough commodity to come by in a playoff game.
It goes without saying that if the Predators want to win Game 4 and ultimately win this series, the new look second and third-lines must chip in offensively. The trio of Viktor Arvidsson, Mike Fisher and Miikka Salomaki skated 50:06 together in 5-v-5 play during the regular season and were a combined -1 in the goal scoring department. Their combined Corsi For per 60 minutes however was a combined 74.25 percent.
The Important Details
7:00 PM CST puck drop from Bridgestone Arena. The game will be on FS-TN locally and NHL Network (in the United States) nationally. Local radio: 102.5 The Game.