Nashville Predators @ Anaheim Ducks, Game 2 Preview: Do Something Special
The job is only 25% done. Or if you want to think big picture, only 1/16th done. Tonight the Preds have a chance to make a REAL statement.
We always hear that the team that opens up on the road needs to "get a split" in the opening 2 games. Nashville has already achieved that. Teams that win game 1 of an NHL playoff series are more likely to win the series, and it's by some bizarre percentage. I don't even believe that. Winning Game 2? That's the one I wanted. Now that both sides have seen each other's cards, adjustments will take place.
Tonight will be a great test to see how the depth of Nashville stacks up against a team that's also built for the playoffs. Because, well.... it is the playoffs.
The Anaheim Ducks
We're throwing out more and more content, and it's a beautiful thing. So if you haven't seen the latest updates from practice or don't know who the heck the Ducks are, enlighten yourself.
The Ducks won't like how Ryan Kesler's line was handled by Ryan Johansen and James Neal. So we'll keep an eye on that tonight. Also, Bruce Boudreau hasn't "named a starter" in goal tonight. John Gibson may not have been Patrick Roy, Dominek Hasek, or even playoff Mike Smith on Friday night... but he wasn't terrible.
Josh Manson is listed as questionable, so there's that. No Manson equals Kevin Bieksa in the lineup.
The Nashville Predators
There's a lot to like about what Nashville did against Anaheim in Game 1. Staying out of the box was probably my favorite. But all it takes is one careless penalty, and all of those good feelings are done. Something that was encouraging is that the 4th line didn't get pinned in their own zone for ridiculously long stretches. And let's face it, Cody Bass is Cody Bass and careless penalties are bound to happen. The fourth line being deployed like and actual fourth line that hits and plays like 5-6 minutes a night? That works for me.
Calle Jarnkrok and Colin Wilson swapped roles for a bit in the second period. Jarnkrok looked to be the more effective player with Neal and Johansen, but Wilson does allow for extra flexibility when the Preds can roll out more specialized lines.
But the job remains the same: Protect Rinne, stay out of the box, and score some goals.
Also, can we talk about how awesome Ryan Johansen is?
Johansen: "A lot of people consider us the underdogs in this series, but we believe in our room that we're headed for something special."— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) April 16, 2016
Love it. There's no sense in acting like the media doesn't exist.
The Important Details
9:30 PM puck drop, so alternate between coffee and whatever your poison is. The game will be on FS-TN locally and NBC Sports (and their app) nationally. Local radio: 102.5 The Game.