Skip to main content
game preview

5 Keys: Predators at Ducks, Game 5

Nashville without injured center Ryan Johansen; Anaheim must play better in third period

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

PREDATORS at DUCKS

7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports

Best-of-7 series is tied 2-2

ANAHEIM -- The Nashville Predators will play their first game without No. 1 center Ryan Johansen when they face the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center on Saturday.

 

[RELATED: Johansen of Predators out for rest of playoffs | Complete Ducks-Predators coverage]

 

Johansen will miss the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs because of an injury to his left thigh sustained in Nashville's 3-2 overtime loss in Game 4 on Thursday. He had emergency surgery and is expected to recover in 2-3 months. He was the Predators' co-leader during the regular season with 61 points (14 goals, 47 assists) and led them in the playoffs with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists).

When teams are tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven series, the winner of Game 5 holds an all-time series record of 198-54, including 5-0 this postseason.

Here are 5 keys for Game 5:

 

1. Filling the void

Nashville has limited options to center the top line. None are near the caliber of Johansen. 

Calle Jarnkrok spent time on the top line with Johansen and James Neal during the regular season and finished with an NHL career-high 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists). 

He had been centering the third line with Neal and Colin Wilson against the Ducks but has two points (goal, assist) in the postseason.

Video: CGY@NSH: Jarnkrok finishes Smith's feed with wrister

 

2. Colton Sissons an option?

The Predators could also be without second-line center Mike Fisher, who left Game 4 late in the third period with an undisclosed injury. That could create increased responsibilities for Sissons, who has been centering the fourth line.

Sissons has shown he can score in bunches. Three of his eight regular-season goals came in a 6-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 5. Three others came in a two-game stretch March 23 and 25.

He's also been prone to long stretches without scoring and is without a goal in his past 10 games.

 

3. Third period turnaround 

The Ducks have played every other day since winning Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers on May 10. Combined with the increased intensity of playoff games, the compacted schedule could be impacting their stamina. 

They were the toughest team to score against in the third period (55 goals against) during the regular season but have been outscored 4-0 in the third while blowing leads the past two games. 

One clue to Anaheim's heavy legs are its recent late-game penalties.The Predators scored the game-winning goal in their 2-1 win in Game 3 on a power play with 2:43 left. The Ducks committed four minor penalties in a span of 7:20 of the third period in Game 4. Anaheim killed those penalties, but exerted substantial energy and the Predators tied the game with 35 seconds left.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm4: Forsberg ties game in final minute

 

4. Rickard Rakell is rolling

Nashville has plenty of concerns for Game 5 and Rakell is another one, He led the Ducks with 33 goals during the regular season and his 18.6 shooting percentage was tied for fourth in the League among players who took at least 100 shots.

Rakell scored the first goal of Game 4 with a well-placed wrist shot from the circle after getting loose during a Nashville line change. Though he's second on the Ducks with 13 playoff points (seven goals, six assists), he has shown he can do more. He led the Ducks in hits in Game 4 with six, leads them at plus-13 during the playoffs and is the only Anaheim player who hasn't committed a penalty in the postseason.

 

5. John Gibson's durability

Gibson is set to start his 16th consecutive playoff game after not appearing in more than 10 straight during the regular season. 

Gibson is 9-5 with a .917 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average in the playoffs after going 25-16-9 with a .924 save percentage and 2.22 GAA during the regular season. From Feb. 20 until the start of the playoffs, he appeared in four of the Ducks' final 21 games because of a lower-body injury.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm4: Gibson extends pad to rob Forsberg

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Viktor Arvidsson

Pontus Aberg -- Colton Sissons -- Austin Watson

Craig Smith -- Colin Wilson -- James Neal

Cody McLeod -- Vernon Fiddler -- PA Parenteau

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Brad Hunt, Miikka Salomaki, Anthony Bitetto, Marek Mazanec, Harry Zolnierczyk

Injured: Kevin Fiala (lower body), Mike Fisher (upper body), Ryan Johansen (thigh)

 

Ducks projected lineup

Rickard Rakell -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie -- Antoine Vermette -- Ondrej Kase

Chris Wagner -- Nate Thompson -- Jared Boll

Cam Fowler -- Brandon Montour 

Kevin Bieksa -- Sami Vatanen

Hampus Lindholm -- Josh Manson

John Gibson

Jonathan Bernier
 
Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Sam Carrick, Clayton Stoner, Shea Theodore
 
Injured: Patrick Eaves (lower body), Logan Shaw (lower body)

 
 

Status report

Smith hasn't played since Game 6 of the second round against the St. Louis Blues but could re-enter the lineup with Nashville's shortages up front. 
 
 

Who's hot

Forsberg has four goals and an assist in a five-game point streak. ... Josi has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past six games. ... Arvidsson has six assists in his past five games. Rakell has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past nine games. ... Perry has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past eight games.

View More