NASHVILLE -- When in Music City, hold your off-day media availability in a boot store.
That's exactly what the Ducks did today in lieu of holding court at the Predators' practice facility a few miles down the road. The location was The Frye Company - a 3,000-square foot space decorated with exposed brick walls, shoe displays lining the store and that unmistakable "new leather smell" hitting you as soon as you enter the building. You can always expect the unexpected with this Ducks team.
The Ducks aren't dwelling on their 2-1 loss last night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final at Bridgestone Arena. To a man, they know they could play much better, so today was a day to clear their minds before they get back at it tomorrow in Game 4. The mood was light, and it started with head coach Randy Carlyle.
"I was asking if there was a discount rack at the back because I know that's where you guys shop," he quipped, when he greeted the media today. When asked if he had tried on any boots, he said "That'll be later."
On a more serious note, Carlyle said he felt his team simply ran out of gas last night. "Our hockey club was flat with emotion and you have to give the opposition credit for taking that out of us," he said to reporters. "They played in our face and we weren't allowed to execute to the level we're accustomed to. We just have to play a lot more of a complete game. We have to be in a much more competitive state come tomorrow night than what we were able to perform to last night."
Carlyle pointed out the demanding schedule the Ducks have had to endure, which included a seven-game series with the Edmonton Oilers that concluded a week ago today. "You get more of an understanding of the level of intensity and the drainage that takes place on your people," he said.
Ironically, the last team to beat the Predators at Bridgestone Arena in the playoffs was Anaheim in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round on April 21, 2016. The Predators have won 10 in a row at home since then, including six straight in the playoffs this year.
The Ducks have proven they can rise up and deliver in the face of adversity. And while a 2-1 series deficit isn't exactly life or death, coming back with a split is the only thing they have in mind.
"After what happened last night, that's the best case scenario," said Cam Fowler. "Coming into a building like that, you have your work cut out for you. If you could steal a game and get this series 2-2 back to Anaheim, that would be a situation we would all welcome."
Video: The Ducks meet the media before Game 4