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First Round

Predators aim to rebound against Stars in Game 5

Hope defensive adjustments, home crowd add up to advantage with first-round series tied 2-2

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators will look to bounce back from a lopsided loss when they host the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS).

The Predators, who were defeated 5-1 in Game 4 at Dallas on Wednesday, return home with the best-of-7 series tied 2-2 and will work on putting their most recent loss behind them.

"I think it's really important to be able to do that," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "The games happen. You can just pull out the one slice that says 'Game 4' and we'll look at it. We'll figure out what we did wrong and what we needed to do better, and then you've got to move past it and try to make those corrections and small adjustments with what you're trying to do."


[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Stars series coverage]


Nashville has struggled to generate high-percentage scoring chances, with the Stars effectively protecting the slot. The Predators seek to solve that issue in Game 5.

They also look to improve on the penalty kill; Dallas scored three times on the power play on the way to building a 4-0 first-period lead in Game 4. The Stars finished the game 3-for-6 with the man-advantage; the Predators were 0-for-2.

"I thought we did a better job in the second game and parts of some of the other games," Laviolette said. "[Game 4] was a different game, just the way it unfolded. There wasn't a lot of even-strength chances either way for the entire 60 minutes. Everything kind of gets thrown into a blender when they grab that 4-0 lead and you're chasing something big-time at that point.

"But we've looked at a lot of different things. We've tried to make a couple of adjustments on what we're looking for as far as the offensive zone goes. I think they do a good job of packing five guys down in front of their net. They've done a pretty good job of it all year, and it just seems like it's pretty stingy both ways 5-on-5."

The Predators take pride in winning at Bridgestone Arena but recognize home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs doesn't mean much if they aren't playing the right way.

"At the end of the day, I think that the League is so competitive right now and you see that through all the series," Laviolette said. "All of the games are competitive. All the series are competitive. I think it comes down to more of actually the game being played itself and who is playing better inside of that game, and that is dictating the results.

"It's great when you can do it and you're in front of your own fans, but at the end of the day the team that plays better is winning hockey games."

Forwards Wayne Simmonds and Brian Boyle could return to practice Friday, Laviolette said. Boyle has missed three games with an appendix issue, and Simmonds was injured when he was hit with a slap shot in the left knee by Predators defenseman Roman Josi in Game 2.

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