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5 Keys: Ducks at Predators, Game 4

Nashville aims to capitalize on chance to go ahead 3-1 in series; Anaheim wants to pick up intensity

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

DUCKS at PREDATORS

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

Nashville leads best-of-7 series 2-1

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators will try to build on a 10-game home winning streak in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Anaheim Ducks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

 

[RELATED: Ducks confident they can rebound | Arvidsson using small frame in big spots]

 

The Predators became the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-1998 to win 10 consecutive home playoff games with a 2-1 win against the Ducks in Game 3. They are 6-0 in Nashville this postseason.

Anaheim is 4-2 on the road and will try to regain home-ice advantage with a win.

Here are 5 keys for Game 4:

 

1. Maintaining intensity

The Ducks liked the way they played in the first 10 minutes of Game 3, but they feel they did not match the Predators' intensity as it progressed.

"At this point in the season, if you can't find that effort level and you can't find that compete, there's something probably wrong," forward Andrew Cogliano said. "This is a big game for us. This is a game where we just need to compete at a higher level and see where it leaves us. I thought last game they took it to us in most parts of the game and even though it was close, I think they outplayed us." 

 

2. Build on power play

Prior to Roman Josi's game-winning power-play goal late in the third period, the Predators were 0-for-11 with the man-advantage in the series, including 0-for-3 to begin the game. 

They're hoping the success they found to win the game can launch a successful power play for the remainder of the series. 

"We feel like we kind of threw away our first three opportunities, and we knew how crucial that fourth one was so late in the game and needing a goal," center Ryan Johansen said. "I thought our unit did a good job of settling it down, having some poise, and waiting for the play to come to us."

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm3: Josi buries PPG for late lead

 

3. Stop Nashville's defense from providing offense

A defenseman has scored or had an assist on seven of the eight Predators goals in the series. 

Anaheim wants to spend more time in the offensive zone to try to help neutralize the impact that Nashville's defensemen can have offensively.

"It's something that's easier said than done," Cogliano said. "Their [defense] are very strong in how they create offense, and we've just got to make them play hopefully some more defense. I think that's what our goal should be, is having them play more in their end. If we could get some more pressure, if we could get some more [offensive] zone time, it's less time on the attack for them and it's more time defending."

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm1: Neal nets Subban's feed for OT win

 

4. Seize the opportunity

The Predators have an opportunity to move one win from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. They know they will have to be at their best to match the effort they expect from the Ducks.

"[Game 3] was a big step for us, it was a big win," defenseman Matt Irwin said. "We've got to have that same mindset going into [Game 4]. It's a great opportunity for us at home. It's not going to be easy. We're going to be seeing their best and we've got to counter with our best to give ourselves a chance."


 
5. Crash the net

One factor in Josi's game-winning goal in Game 3 was Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson crashing toward the net and disrupting goaltender John Gibson. 

The Ducks had success getting traffic in front of Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne during their 5-3 win in Game 2. 

Getting to the middle of the ice and disrupting the vision of the goaltender will be a point of emphasis for each team.

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm2: Kase nets a rebound to tie the game

 

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

Pontus Aberg -- Mike Fisher -- Austin Watson

Colin Wilson -- Calle Jarnkrok -- James Neal

Cody McLeod - Colton Sissons -- Harry Zolnierczyk

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

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

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

 

Status report

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said Bieksa, Stoner and Holzer will be options if they decide a lineup change is needed. … Smith participated in the morning skate. He has missed the past three games.

 

Who's hot

Silfverberg has two goals against the Predators. His nine playoff goals are tied for the NHL lead with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel. … Forsberg has scored in all three games. … Johansen has four points (goal, three assists) in the series and leads the Predators with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in the playoffs.

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