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Five keys for Predators vs. Ducks, Game 5

With Anaheim goaltender Andersen on his game, Nashville's power play may tip scales

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks play Game 5 of their Western Conference First Round series at Honda Center on Saturday (6 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN, PRIME, FS-TN).

Here are five keys for Game 5:

1. Generate offense: Since Anaheim made a goaltending change and replaced John Gibson with Frederik Andersen, the Predators have scored once. That goal was the result of torrid stretch in the second period of Game 4, when Nashville had the Ducks hemmed into their own end and generated several quality chances.

The Ducks allowed the fewest goals in the NHL during the regular season and the Predators want to generate far more in order to overwhelm the defense.

"We've got to continue to keep moving and try to find those areas to get it through," Predators coach Peter Laviolette told The Tenneseean. "We've got to find a way to get it past their sticks or through their legs, get some more pucks that actually get to the net."

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm2: Weber launches a power-play goal

2. Power up: Anaheim boasted the best penalty kill rate in the NHL during the regular season, but it was no match for Shea Weber's slap shot in Game 2. With the Predators struggling to score at even strength, they need to be able to take advantage on the power play in order to compensate.

"We knew it was going to be tough," Weber said. "They're the top special teams in the League, and we're going to keep working at it and hopefully get some success."

3. Block solid: A defensive-minded system is what got Anaheim to the postseason in the first place. In the first two games, the Ducks said they tried to do too much offensively and the focus was on getting through the neutral zone and breaking up the forecheck.

Now, the focus is on taking care of business in their own end, blocking shots and creating chances off of Nashville's offensive miscues.

"Any team that wins the Cup, they usually have as many blocked shots or more blocks," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It implies so many things. It implies courage, it implies structure, it implies a willingness to do what you need to do to win the game."

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm3: Andersen turns away Forsberg on PP

4. Ready, Freddie: While Gibson wasn't necessarily bad, Andersen has been far better. Andersen is respected for his playoff experience, having backstopped the Ducks to Game 7 of the Western Conference Final last year.

Andersen is the foundation of the Ducks' defensive system and penalty kill, and has set the tone for the series comeback.

"Freddie's doing what he's done all year, and the penalty killing has been stepping up like it's done all year," Chris Stewart told the Los Angeles Times after Game 4. "Guys are blocking shots and sacrificing their body, and that's what it takes to win this time of year."

5. Desperate times: Down 0-2 on the road, the Ducks were the more desperate team and played that way. Now that they're back at home, they don't want to lose that mentality. They haven't won at home yet in the series and want to get back to the way they typically play in their home building.

"We clawed our way back and now we can't let anything slip," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "I don't think our home games at the beginning of the series showed how we played at home all season. Now we have to take the opportunity to use this to our advantage."

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