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Instant analysis: Predators vs. Ducks, Game 5

Discipline, quick response give Anaheim 3-2 series lead

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks finally won a home game in this series, the first by either team in five games, defeating the Nashville Predators 5-2 at Honda Center on Saturday.

The Ducks have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series and can eliminate the Predators in Game 6 at Nashville on Monday.

What we learned: The Ducks learned their lesson. When they left Honda Center earlier this week, the harsh words from coach Bruce Boudreau were ringing in their ears, after the "stupid" penalties they took losing the first two games at home. On Saturday, Anaheim was more disciplined, especially in the first two periods when it took one penalty and Nashville took five. That disparity had the Predators back on their heels and blunted the early momentum they developed from winning the battle for zone time.

What this means for the Predators: Embrace home cooking. They lost Games 3 and 4 at Bridgestone Arena but it did nothing more than even a series they once led by two games. Now, if they can't find a way to capitalize on the home-ice advantage, their season will be finished much earlier than they hoped it would be. Home teams are 16-23 this postseason.

What this means for the Ducks: The ship has been righted. They were listing badly when they got on the plane for Nashville on April 18 after losing two one-goal games at Honda Center. The Ducks returned the structure to their game, playing physical but disciplined. The results have been stunning. Anaheim has three straight three-goal wins and moved to within one victory of the second round.

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm5: Perron banks it off Josi and in

Key moment: The Predators took a 1-0 lead at 14:13 of the second period on a beautiful backhand by center Ryan Johansen. It was just reward for a team that had the better scoring chances in the first half of the game. It also silenced Honda Center, but only for a few seconds. On the next shift, Ducks left wing David Perron entered the zone and took a speculative shot from the point. It hit defenseman Roman Josi in the skate and popped into the air toward the Nashville net. Goaltender Pekka Rinne reached desperately for it, but it went beyond his glove hand and across the goal line. Anaheim trailed for a total of 22 seconds.  

Unsung player of the game: Ducks right wing Ryan Garbutt has alternated between the top line and the fourth line but found himself playing with No. 1 center Ryan Getzlaf and Perron. Garbutt is expected to be ferocious on the forecheck and open space for his linemates. With the game tied 1-1, Garbutt beat defenseman Shea Weber and center Mike Fisher to a puck behind the Predators net and then whipped it toward the goal, banking it off Rinne before the goaltender could seal the post. The goal, Garbutt's first this postseason, gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead.

What's next: Game 6 is at Bridgestone Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports). The Ducks can close out the series with what would be their fourth straight win. That would set up a Western Conference Second Round series against the San Jose Sharks. Nashville must win to stay alive.

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