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5 Keys: Ducks at Predators, Game 3

Ryan Johansen vs. Ryan Kesler, Nashville's dominance on home ice among storylines to watch

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

DUCKS at PREDATORS

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, SN

Best-of-7 series tied 1-1

 

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators will try to maintain home-ice advantage in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

It will be the first time the Predators have hosted a Western Conference Final game in their history.&

When a best-of-7 series is tied 1-1 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the winner of Game 3 holds an all-time series record of 205-99, including 3-2 this postseason.

Here are 5 keys for Game 3:

 

1. Ryan Johansen vs. Ryan Kesler

The matchup between Predators center Ryan Johansen and Ducks center Ryan Kesler has been the dominant storyline after a 5-3 Ducks win in Game 2.

Johansen said after Game 2 that Kesler "blows his mind" with the way he plays the game. They could be matched up against each other again in Game 3.

"I laughed," Kesler said. "I got a lot of text messages from friends and family saying they still cheer me on. He can say whatever he wants though, I'm not going to change my game. I'm here for one reason and one reason only, and that's to win some games here and to ultimately win the series. He can say whatever he wants."

Video: Breaking down the Kesler-Johansen matchup

 

2. Home success

The Predators are 5-0 at Bridgestone Arena in the playoffs and have won nine consecutive postseason games at home since Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference First Round against the Ducks.

They are the third team in the past 10 years to win nine straight home playoff games (Pittsburgh Penguins, 2008; Los Angeles Kings, 2012-13).

"Typically, I think when somebody talks about a home-ice advantage, it goes to the atmosphere of the building and the energy that can come from the building, and ours is just terrific," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's more of a European soccer match type event with the chanting and the noise and the applause, and they're just 100 percent behind us."

Video: Morosi on Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators

 

3. Faceoffs

Anaheim has won the faceoff battle in each of the first two games of the series, including 56 percent of the draws in Game 1.

The Predators believe winning those faceoffs, particularly in the offensive zone, could lead to better possession and a better chance to score.

Video: SAP Stats: NSH vs. ANA statistical analysis

 

4. Quicker start

The Ducks have not been happy with the start of each of the first two games and will look to improve on that in Game 3.

"We've talked about it quite a bit but still haven't really gotten out to the starts that we've wanted to," defenseman Cam Fowler said. "We know it's important for us to do, but it's just about execution now. Especially getting through the first five or 10 minutes on the road, especially in this building, I think is a big key for us."

Video: Preds, Ducks mic'd up for Game 2

 

5. Power play must be powerful

Nashville's power play has not been a weapon so far against the Ducks. The Predators are 0-for-8 with the man advantage in the series.

Although the Predators scored one goal just as a power play expired in Game 2 and have been happy with some of the looks they've generated, they know they must start to convert on their chances.

"One goal in I don't know how many chances but a fair number of chances, so probably would like a little more success in that factor," defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "For the most part we're moving it well. We're getting shots, but we have to capitalize on those opportunities."

 

Ducks projected lineup

Nick Ritchie -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Ondrej Kase

Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- Jakob Silfverberg

Rickard Rakell -- Antoine Vermette -- Corey Perry

Chris Wagner -- Nate Thompson -- Jared Boll

Cam Fowler -- Sami Vatanen

Hampus Lindholm -- Brandon Montour

Shea Theodore -- Josh Manson

John Gibson

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Sam Carrick, Korbinian Holzer, Clayton Stoner

Injured: Kevin Bieksa (lower body), Patrick Eaves (lower body), Logan Shaw (lower body)

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Colin Wilson -- Mike Fisher -- Pontus Aberg

Colton Sissons -- Calle Jarnkrok -- James Neal

Cody McLeod -- Vernon Fiddler -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Brad Hunt, PA Parenteau, Harry Zolnierczyk, Miikka Salomaki, Vladislav Kamenev, Marek Mazanec, Frederick Gaudreau, Trevor Murphy

Injured: Kevin Fiala (fractured left femur), Craig Smith (undisclosed)

 

Status report

The Ducks held an optional morning skate. … Smith participated in the Predators' morning skate but stayed on the ice well after it ended.

 

Who's hot

Silfverberg has two goals in the series and nine in the playoffs. … Getzlaf has 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) and trails Penguins center Evgeni Malkin by one point for the NHL scoring lead. … Neal has four goals in his past five games and is tied with Forsberg for the Predators lead with five goals. … Johansen has four points (one goal, three assists) in the series. … Forsberg has two goals in the series.

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