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Conference Final

Predators know they have to be better in Game 2 vs. Ducks

Nashville anticipating improved effort by Anaheim after loss in opener of Western Conference Final

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- The Nashville Predators know they'll have to be ready for a better performance by the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

The Predators won 3-2 in overtime in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series Friday. Nashville, which had been off since eliminating the St. Louis Blues on May 7, outshot Anaheim 46-29 and carried the play for much of the game against a team that had one day off after winning Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

"I think it's a lot of respect for our opponent, as well, in all three rounds, and just the teams that we've had to go through and understanding that if you probably let your guard down, you're not going to like the way the game ends," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "So that's a choice at that point, and our guys have done a pretty good job of staying focused."

Game 1 hero James Neal, who scored his fourth goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at 9:24 of overtime, said the Predators have to lift the level of their play to match the Ducks.

Video: Neal wins Game 1 of the Western Conference Final

"I don't think anything will surprise us," the veteran forward said. "I think we were definitely ready and knew what to expect out of Anaheim. [Center Ryan] Getzlaf is playing really well right now. He's definitely a guy that you want to key on and be hard on, but I don't think there's one thing that jumped out at us [in Game 1].

"But we do look at areas that we need to fix and get better at, so we'll adjust and come out with hopefully a better game and do the right things again."

Defenseman P.K. Subban, who had the primary assist on the game-winner with a fake shot and a quick pass to Neal in the right circle, believes the Predators can be better than they were in Game 1.

"I think there are other levels to our game," Subban said. "Last game we played well and we had the start that we wanted but I still think we can play a lot better. Was that a full 60 minutes? Maybe not, but it was good enough for us to get the win.

"I think that we're just going to have to do those little things that have brought us success, attacking and defending in a five-man unit and we've done that stuff extremely well in the playoffs. We have a [heck] of an opportunity [in Game 2]."

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