Anaheim/Nashville - Game Five: What To Watch For

The home ice advantage has shifted back to Anaheim. The Predators finally got one puck past Frederik Andersen, but unfortunately the Ducks scored four goals on their way to tying up the series on Thursday night. Some things need to change and quickly for the Predators to take Game 5 and beyond.

Change of Scenery:

Going back to the West Coast with the series tied is the best scenario the Anaheim Ducks could have hoped for leaving Nashville. The Predators, and their fans, are in a state of bewilderment after what looked to be a promising start has now become a best of three series. The Ducks have changed up their strategy and are getting secondary scoring from their second and third lines. Corey Perry has been a non-factor aside from goading the Predators into getting agitated and committing dumb penalties.

Speaking of dumb penalties, Nashville has twice been called for embellishment in this series. The game is over and there isn't anything anyone can do about that now, but it is interesting that an embellishment call is a rarity during the regular season but it has been called twice on Nashville in four games. Just something to chew on.

Freddy Gets Figured:

Frederik Andersen has been rock solid in relief of John Gibson. Gibson, who made the All Star game this season, was shaky at best in the first two games, whereas Andersen has been almost perfect. Game three was not much of a test for Andersen as the dangerous shots were few and far between. Game four was a huge push from Nashville and Andersen was up to the task stopping all but one for a 4-1 win.

The Predators have to get traffic to the net and break the trap employed by Anaheim to have a chance to beat Andersen consistently. Bigger bodies like Mike Fisher, who got rewarded for going to the net in game four, and maybe Miikka Salomaki or even Cody Bass could cause havoc in the blue ice and allow the Predators to claw back into this series with some timely goals.

Turn the Tables:

Even though the Ducks gave the Predators six power play opportunities, the Predators couldn't convert on any attempts on Thursday night. But, if you watched the game, the Predators looked less composed throughout the game especially after the embellishment call that led to the Ducks scoring two goals soon afterwards.

The power play has to start clicking or this series will become an uphill climb. The penalty kill has been relatively better, but the power play struggles are taking the wind out of Nashville's sails. Credit given to the Ducks who had the number one power play and penalty kill in the regular season.