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Predators comfortable tied with Ducks, especially back home

Undefeated in Nashville during playoffs entering Game 3 of conference final

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators will try to remain undefeated at Bridgestone Arena during the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

Nashville is 5-0 at home during the 2017 playoffs and has won nine consecutive postseason home games dating to Game 6 of the 2016 first round against Anaheim.

 

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Despite blowing 2-0 and 3-2 leads in a 5-3 loss in Game 2 on Sunday, the Predators are comfortable returning home with the series tied after taking home-ice advantage away from the Ducks.

"We did what we wanted to do," defenseman P.K. Subban said Monday. "We went there to get one game, and we had the opportunity to get two. It didn't happen, but now we're back on home ice, so we want to take advantage of that."

One factor in Nashville's dominance at home during the playoffs has been coach Peter Laviolette's ability to control matchups having the second change before faceoffs.

"We have home ice, so we'll be able to find matchups that we either want or don't want a little bit easier," Laviolette said. "Our guys, I think they're accustomed to playing different types of games. To get through [the Chicago Blackhawks], you had to play one way. To get through [the St. Louis Blues], you had to play a different way. I think the guys will be fine."

Ryan Johansen's line with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson mostly was matched up against Ryan Kesler's line with Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano in the first two games. Johansen has a goal and three assists in the series despite being annoyed by some of Kesler's tactics.

"I think he's been our best player in the first two games, especially in the first period [in Game 2]," Forsberg said of Johansen, whose 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in the playoffs are tied with Joel Ward (2011) and Colin Wilson (2016) for most in a single postseason in Predators history. "He was dominating out there. I'm just fortunate enough to try and catch up as good as I can with him."

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm2: Johansen strikes on early breakaway

The physical play of the Ducks has been a point of emphasis for the Predators during the first two games. They know they will have to stay disciplined and not take any penalties after the whistle.

"They always are battling and playing physical and have some stuff with the extracurriculars after the whistle that they're trying to use just to get us off our game and try to get us undisciplined," forward Colton Sissons said. "I think we've done a pretty good job of staying disciplined so far."

The boisterous crowd at Bridgestone Arena has been a popular topic across the NHL during the playoffs. The Predators believe they could be even louder for their first conference final game at home.

"It shouldn't be possible, but they've proved us wrong a lot of times," Forsberg said. "They can be even more loud. I'm looking forward to [Tuesday]."

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