By Kyle Shohara
NASHVILLE – It was an optional skate for the Ducks this afternoon inside Bridgestone Arena, where they’ll reconvene tomorrow for what bench boss Bruce Boudreau predicts will be “the best game of the series.”
That’s because things will go one of two ways for the Ducks. Either they’ll come home with the series tied – making it a best of three – or they’ll return to Anaheim facing elimination in a serious hole.
The Ducks had their most complete effort of the series last night in a must-win game. They were opportunistic when they needed to be and had Frederik Andersen getting it done in the crease. Yet Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf knows they need to elevate their game even more tomorrow night.
“We had a few breakdowns here and there, but for the most part we accomplished what we wanted to do,” he said. “We got a win, but we have to be better tomorrow knowing they’re going to come out a lot harder than they did.”
“We’ll get their best game,” Boudreau added in his post-practice presser. “We know how good a team they are. We got a couple breaks. They were pressuring pretty hard at the end, so we’ll have to play much better tomorrow if we expect – or want – the same result as last night.”
Several Ducks weren’t on the ice this afternoon, including center Ryan Kesler and defenseman Cam Fowler. Boudreau called it a “maintenance day” for those opting to stay on dry land, but says some of the guys on the ice today will probably stay off the ice tomorrow for the morning skate.
STICKING TO THE GAME PLAN
After coming unglued in Game 2, the Ducks made it a point to play “between the whistles” last night, and it showed. They kept their composure and stayed away from any post-whistle unpleasantries with the Preds. This was no accident, says Jamie McGinn, who opened the scoring last night with a one-timer from the right circle.
“It was a fun game, but I thought we did a great job playing together,” he said. “We supported each other and stuck with the game plan. We did a great job playing between the whistles. We didn’t talk to anyone after the whistle unless it was to each other on the bench. We worked hard.”
McGinn also credited the veterans of the team, including linemate Shawn Horcoff, for reinforcing this mindset throughout the game.
“When we’re not worrying about them or the refs, and we’re just worried about ourselves, that’s when we’re most successful.”
Puck drop for Game 4 tomorrow night will be shortly after 5 p.m. PDT, with the game being televised on Prime Ticket.