The Predators stole home ice with a split in Anaheim, but will they capitalize on their return to Bridgestone Arena? Yes, it’s once again their toughest game of the year.
The Anaheim Ducks
For a closer look at the team, check out our pre-series previews:
There’s really only one story heading into this game.
Part of me thinks that the #Preds are going to benefit highly from some penalty calls in G3.— Kristopher Martel (@kmartel_sports) May 15, 2017
Part of me thinks we'll see sticks in groins.
The Anaheim Ducks have a well-deserved reputation for playing on and over the edge, and while it doesn’t seem to have affected the Preds very much as far as their efficiency goes, how much the refs call tonight will have a huge effect on the game.
Something else that stands out to me about the Ducks game is that they don’t mind playing from behind. Their second period goal differential is +4 compared to their first period, and their third period is even higher (not adjusting for empty net goals). It will be very important for the Preds to continue pressing even on the long change and not get off their game. Whether it is score effects or not, the Preds appeared to be a bit rattled and less effective during the middle portions of the previous games.
No, I’m not worried about Johansen’s feelings.
What tells more of the head-to-head story between Kesler & Johansen, that Kesler is 64% on draws, or Johansen has 75% of H2H shot attempts?— Scott Cullen (@tsnscottcullen) May 15, 2017
Alex broke down Rinne’s perfomance yesterday and gave us an idea of what to expect tonight, which is the biggest question mark. I’m very confident in Rinne’s ability to bounce back, and barring that, the team shouldn’t need him to steal anything.
The Preds spoke to the media following their return to Nashville on Monday. Filip Forsberg had some high praise for his linemate Johansen.
Laviolette doesn’t seem too worried about Johansen either, although I have difficulty believing he’s totally oblivious to his comments.
Reasons to Watch
- How will Pekka respond to a down performance on the road? I believe he’ll be better, but the shots along the half wall being semi-screened by a defenseman worry me a little, not from a goaltending perspective, but for the entire team defense.
- The JOFA line is off the schneid, and I expect an even bigger performance from them now that Peter Laviolette has last change. Will Arvidsson finally score that elusive wrap around?
- Tune in for the drama of a potential WWIII on ice, if nothing else, which is what will break out if the refs don’t start calling things.
Sights and Sounds
Puck drop is at 7 on NBCSN, streaming via their website, or on 102.5 FM The Game.