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Predators confident they can win Game 5 at Ducks

Nashville, without Ryan Johansen, looks for fifth victory in seven playoff games at Anaheim in past two seasons

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators know what it takes to win on the road against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Predators are 4-2 at Honda Center in six Stanley Cup Playoff games during the past two seasons. They went 3-1 during the 2016 Western Conference First Round and split the first two games of the 2017 Western Conference Final.

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 in Anaheim on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). The Predators began the series with a 3-2 overtime win at Honda Center before losing 5-3 in Game 2.

"I think you need to have confidence," Nashville forward James Neal said. "I think just the confidence in our group … we can win games there and just have the belief in your teammates and the guy you sit beside to just play a little better and get a win. That's really all you're focused on."

The Predators spoke before it was revealed that leading playoff scorer Ryan Johansen will miss the rest of the playoffs because of a left thigh injury that required emergency surgery. The center had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 14 playoff games.

The Ducks regained home-ice advantage with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 4 here Thursday.

"We went to Anaheim the first time knowing that we could win on the road, we have to win on the road, and [it's the] same right now," Predators defenseman Yannick Weber said. "They have their home advantage back, so for us it will be the same mindset for every game we've had.

"I thought we played well in Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3, and [Game 4 was] a little bit of a slow start, but the last 40 minutes I thought we played the way we wanted to play and I thought we did have a pretty good pushback. We don't have to change much. We know if we can play our game and our style, we can be successful."

Video: Recapping Game 4 between the Ducks and Predators

The Predators and Ducks each are good at clogging the neutral zone and making it difficult for the opponent to enter the offensive zone cleanly. The Ducks have been able to start some rushes from their zone by getting to loose pucks and countering.

"A lot of it is not from just neutral-zone defense, it's more from them sprinting to offense from our offense," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "So we're in the offensive zone and they pick up a puck or collect a puck and break out, it's not really about neutral-zone defense at that point.

"I do think that the team that's had the jump and has been able to put numbers into the rush usually can control a little bit of the tempo, get into the offensive zone and create some plays and some pucks that are going to the net and [generate] some scoring chances."

The power play will be a point of emphasis for the Predators in Game 5. They are 1-for-17 through four games and failed to score during a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted 1:31 late in the third period of Game 4. Johansen played on the first unit.

"We need to shoot the puck a little bit more," Neal said. "We had a few good looks, but at the end of the day you've got to put the puck in the back of the net. Just move the puck around a little bit quicker, keep a good net front and deliver the puck. But we've got to definitely score when [we] have an opportunity like that.

"Every guy would say the same thing. That's on our power play, and we have to be a little better."

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