NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators don't believe they played anywhere close to their capabilities in a 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round on Tuesday.
The Ducks were quicker to pucks all game long and played a strong defensive game to limit the Predators' quality scoring opportunities. Nashville, which leads the best-of-7 series 2-1, vowed to give a considerably better effort in Game 4 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET: FS-TN, PRIME, NHLN, FX-CA, TVA Sports 3).
"We still have to admit that we didn't play a good game [Tuesday]," Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne said Wednesday. "It was a bad game, and we all know that we can do a lot better. Especially it's disappointing when you do that at home, first game of the playoffs in front of our fans. [Thursday] I promise it's going to be a lot better effort."
The Predators said forward Craig Smith is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Smith took two shifts in Game 3 in the first period and missed the remainder of the game. He did not practice Wednesday.
Forward Colin Wilson took Smith's place on the right wing of Nashville's second line with center Mike Ribeiro and Filip Forsberg. Wilson had a disappointing season offensively but has been effective in the playoffs with one goal and one assist. He said he's prepared to play in a top-six role if needed.
"It's exciting," Wilson said. "I've been there before in my career, and it'll be fun to play with those guys if that's who I end up playing with [Thursday]."
The road team has won each game in the series, a trend Nashville is looking to break in Game 4. Coach Peter Laviolette said the Predators knew the Ducks were going to provide a tough test and now it's all about how Nashville responds.
"There's seven games in a series, and I think I've been a part of all of them on the side of coaching, winning in four, winning in five, winning in six, winning in seven," Laviolette said. "Probably losing in those same amount of times as well. They're all important. I mean they're all big games. You've got to get to four. It doesn't matter how you get there, when you get there, but certainly with them winning the last one you want to make sure we're moving things in the right direction."
The Predators remained upbeat, knowing they have a chance to take a 3-1 series lead before going back to Honda Center.
"It's a great day," Rinne said. "Best time of the year. It's so exciting to be in this position, to be in the playoffs, Game 4 [Thursday]. Nothing's better. It's another opportunity for us. We're sitting in a good spot, and for sure it's a beautiful day."