NASHVILLE -- On the morning of a crucial swing game in the Western Conference Final, there was an enduring sense of calmness within the Ducks locker room. There hasn't been any panic within these walls at any point during the playoffs, and there certainly isn't any now.
With that being said, this isn't a must-win game by any means, but it is one they could really use as the series shifts to Honda Center for Game 5 on Saturday. It takes four victories to win a series, and the Nashville Predators are halfway there. If the second round was any indication, the Ducks are still very much alive in this series. A win tonight would give them a split through four games and bring home ice advantage back into the equation, and a best-of-seven series suddenly turns into a best of three.
"This is another game," said captain Ryan Getzlaf, emphasizing the importance of treating each game as its own entity. "You have to win four before they do. You never want to fall behind too far. If we accomplish that, we get our home ice back and get back to our building."
A victory tonight would also snap Nashville's 10-game home winning streak in the playoffs that dates to Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference First Round against the Ducks last year.
In order to do that, however, the Ducks will need to get their game back in order. They were guilty of being sloppy with the puck throughout much of Game 3, and the Predators took full advantage. A full day off yesterday gave the Ducks some much-needed rest, so we'll see if it pays off tonight.
"A couple of these games, we weren't ourselves," said rookie defenseman Brandon Montour, who is averaging 19:22 TOI in the playoffs. "We want to stick to our game plan and what we've been successful with. We'll be good to go. We had a good day off yesterday. We'll be fresh and ready to go."
Getzlaf adds, "We just need to take care of the puck a little bit better than we did in the last game. We didn't move it effectively."
In other words, the Ducks know they can (and need to be) much better tonight than they were in Game 3. It's about the process, as Carlyle puts it.
"When we took on the mantra that we had to be better than we were in the last game, it relieves the focus of the outcome versus the process," he said. "We're always going to focus on the process first, and the results should take care of themselves."
Potential Line Combinations
Video: The Ducks look ahead to Game 4 of the WCF