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Predators lament poor start to Game 4 against Ducks

Outshot 14-2 in first period, home winning streak in playoffs ends at 10 with OT loss

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- Despite expecting the Anaheim Ducks to come out strong in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday, the Nashville Predators played the first period like they were going to win just because they were at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators came out flat, looking like anything but the team that started the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a perfect 6-0 record at home. They had two shots on goal in the first period and fell behind 2-0 midway through the second, leaving no room for error.

Nashville did rally to tie the game late in the third period but lost 3-2 when Corey Perry scored 10:25 into overtime to tie the best-of-7 series 2-2.

 

[RELATED: Complete Ducks vs. Predators series coverageDucks overcame adversity to defeat Predators in Game 4]

 

"Obviously, we come out and we want to have the good start, and I felt like last game (a 2-1 win) we had that," said defenseman P.K. Subban, who scored with 6:27 remaining in the third to get the Predators within 2-1. "Today, for whatever reason, we didn't. Things are going to happen in the playoffs, and we want to play our A-plus game every game, but it's not going to happen. We want to have an A-plus start all the time, and it's not going to happen. So we have to stick to the plan, and I thought we did a good job of doing that.

"You could see it once we started to roll the lines, you could see that they got tired and we started pressuring them, and obviously we did a good job of tying up the game and giving ourselves an opportunity in overtime."

The lesson from the latter part of the game for the Predators was that the cost of recovering from their poor first period was high, leaving them vulnerable to what eventually happened.

"[That third period is] the norm and the standard," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think what we could do is learn something about what it takes on a nightly basis from the first period, more than anything."

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm4: Laviolette discusses OT loss in Game 4

Laviolette bristled at the idea that Nashville was in control heading for overtime after Filip Forsberg tied it 2-2 with 34.5 seconds left.

"Nobody should ever assume that when you're playing a team like Anaheim," Laviolette said. "I think that would be a mistake.

"Our guys came out, were still competing in the third period, and they caught a lucky bounce tonight on the redirect (Perry's shot from the right corner off Subban's stick) that ended up being the difference-maker. We move on."

Game 5 is at Anaheim on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Ducks outshot the Predators 14-2 in the first period and built their lead with goals by Rickard Rakell at 11:30 of the first and Nick Ritchie at 10:22 of the second.

The Predators couldn't explain their lack of jump early in the game.

Video: Recapping Game 4 between the Ducks and Predators

"I don't know why," left wing Viktor Arvidsson said. "I don't really have an answer for that. We didn't shoot too much in the first period. We passed up opportunities. And we didn't play in their end enough. They came over us and we never got a chance to play in their end, and that's on us."

Said Forsberg: "We knew they were going to come out hard. They always do. We just didn't show up.

"In the second and third period, we played good enough to win. But in the first period … we obviously came back on the scoreboard, but you can't give them that start."

Nashville's postseason winning streak at Bridgestone Arena ended at 10 games. Its last playoff loss at home was in Game 4 against Anaheim in the 2016 first round.

Like the streak, Game 4 is over and done. Afterward, the Predators already were looking ahead to Game 5, identifying the positives and lessons they can carry forward with them.

"We just have to turn the page and get ready for the next game," Subban said. "They're a good team, so we know every game is going to be a battle. I think if there is a positive tonight, it's that we showed when we want to play our game, we can't be stopped. I felt we did a good job in the third period battling back and giving ourselves an opportunity to win the game. We had chances in overtime, and it didn't go our way.

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

"You throw pucks at the net and good things will happen. They threw one in and it went off my stick and in."

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 34 saves, said they should know the value of a solid start.

"We need to get out of the gates a little better maybe, have a better first period (in Game 5)," Rinne said. "But we have to keep skating and attacking the game, using our team speed. That's the one area we can use to our advantage.

"It's an open series, 2-2. But we have a lot of confidence. I don't think we need to change a lot of things going into Game 5."

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