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Five keys for Predators vs. Ducks, Game 3

Andersen starts for Anaheim; Forsberg tries to continue hot stretch for Nashville

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators play Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena (9:30 p.m. ET, USA, TVA Sports 2, SN360, PRIME, FS-TN). The Predators lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

Here are five keys for Game 3:

1. Discipline after the whistle: The Ducks and Predators were on the opposite ends of the spectrum in Game 2 in terms of discipline. The Ducks took six penalties and were involved in extracurricular scrums after the whistle had been blown. The Predators took two penalties and did not retaliate after the whistle.

Anaheim is putting an emphasis on trying to be more disciplined in Game 3, while still trying to match Nashville's physicality.

"What you have to do though is play between the whistles and not after the whistles," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I call it 'Initiate but don't retaliate.' That's what you have to do. In this playoff hockey, sometimes you have to take a punch in the head, and I know your initial instinct is to punch back, but to draw a penalty or something, that's what you have to do."

The Predators knew being a disciplined team was going to be key heading into the series, because the Ducks finished the regular season with the best power play in the NHL. Nashville's discipline has given it the edge so far.

"You watch all of the series, I think the team that keeps their composure more, probably has the best chance of winning," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It doesn't necessarily mean you win, but probably has the best chance of being successful, and it's not easy. It's a competitive game. Hockey's a game of aggression, especially in the playoffs. That seems to ramp up even more."

2. Andersen's impact: The Ducks will start goaltender Frederik Andersen in Game 3 in place of John Gibson. Boudreau said the decision to start Andersen wasn't an indictment of Gibson's play, but sometimes teams make these type of moves to change pace when things aren't going well.

The Ducks haven't been particularly happy with their play in front of Gibson in the first two games. Andersen said putting more pressure on the Predators in the offensive zone will go a long way toward getting back in the series.

"I think we've just got to try and get through the neutral zone a little bit better," Andersen said. "Play in their end more. I think we want to put more pressure on them, so I think everybody is excited to play this game and really motivated to get back in the series."

Forsberg said a goaltending change for Anaheim wouldn't affect the way Nashville will try to attack the game.

"Whoever they play in net doesn't really change our mindset," Forsberg said. "We're just going to try to get the pucks through to their net."

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm1: Forsberg's dish deflects in for lead

3. Forsberg's dominance: Predators forward Filip Forsberg has been arguably the best player in the series so far. He scored the game-winning goal in Game 1 and had the primary assist on Craig Smith's goal in Game 2.

Forsberg's offense on the second line was a key factor in the Nashville's success in the second half of the regular season. He has continued to provide offense so far in this series, and is motivated to give the Predators a 3-0 lead.

"It's a tough series, but obviously if we win tonight we're in a really good spot," Forsberg said. "Basically we just can't think too much ahead of ourselves, either. We've just got to stay with it one game at a time and wait and see what happens."

4. Wilson's resurgence: Predators forward Colin Wilson had an admittedly disappointing regular season. After scoring a career-high 20 goals in 2014-15, he had six goals this season.

Wilson has been a force for the Predators in the first two games of the series, scoring a goal on a redirect in Game 1 and making a critical pass on defenseman Mattias Ekholm's goal to tie the score 1-1 in Game 2.

"I think when all you're worrying about is winning and trying to do anything you can to help the team, whether it's get a hit, get in on the forecheck, score a goal, the game is just really easy that way," Wilson said.

Wilson can be a critical piece for the Predators when he's on because it gives them three lines that pose offensive threats.

5. First 10 the biggest: The first half of the first period will be critical for both teams. The Predators weathered the storm in Game 2 on the road and ended the first period tied 1-1.

Now, it will be the Ducks' turn to do that in the Predators' first home game of the series.

"We know what the environment is going to be like," Boudreau said. "It's going to be crazy. We're just going to have to overcome. I mean other teams have overcome, so why can't we?"

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