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Conference Final

Ducks can't find tying goal against Predators in Game 3

Anaheim fails to come back, falls behind again in Western Conference Final

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- The masters of the comeback had the tables turned on them Tuesday.

The Anaheim Ducks have come from behind in six of their nine victories in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They held a lead in the third period but lost 2-1 against the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Ducks series coverage | Gibson expects Ducks to bounce back from rough Game 3]

 

The Predators lead the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 is here on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Anaheim won the Western Conference Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers in seven games after trailing 2-0 in the series.

"I didn't think we executed with the puck properly tonight, which caused us a lot more headaches than needed," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "They were good at our net. They played hard at our net, bumping into our goalie all night long and we didn't do a good enough job getting inside.

"They're a good hockey team, there's no doubt about it. They came hard, they had their push and like in playoff hockey always, there's going to be ups and downs throughout games and pushes. It's a matter of how you deal with them, and tonight I didn't think we dealt with the puck properly, which enabled them to work their forecheck, scramble us around a little bit. We've got to address that a little bit."

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said that one of the problems Tuesday was the transition game.

"We didn't attack the neutral ice with speed," he said. "That is one of our trademarks. When we play well, we're a hockey club that can get through the neutral ice.

"They worked harder to get inside than we did. We did not come with the skating game that we're capable of. And consequently, we received a good part of the game."

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm3: Perry scores PPG on sharp-angle shot

The Ducks were outshot 17-9 in the first period but managed to escape with a 0-0 tie. They were outshot 40-20 by the end of the game.

"I don't think we won enough battles and puck battles in their end to keep pucks alive and keep our zone time going," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "At the end of the day, we didn't get enough zone time to really create too much. I think that had to do with not winning enough plays in the offensive zone and not breaking out clean enough.

"We need to get the puck moving better. Our D need to skate the puck better. We're not getting enough zone time and to do that, we have to get through the neutral zone better. It seems like there are some 50-50 pucks there and we're not getting there, not making clean enough passes to create offense."

The Ducks also played an undisciplined game at times; forward Corey Perry was penalized for holding the stick at 18:40 of the second period and forward Chris Wagner was called for high sticking at 16:05 of the third, a penalty that gave the Predators the power play which led to Roman Josi's game-winning goal at 17:17.

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

"You just can't do that. Not in the playoffs," Carlyle said.

Despite all that went wrong, Carlyle pointed out the silver lining after falling behind in the series for a second time.

"We didn't play anywhere near where we're capable of playing," he said. "We received the game a lot, but we still had a chance. And that's the most encouraging part, because we can play better than we played tonight. We know that."

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