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Predators strive to 'keep it together' in Western Final

Even with strong penalty kill, Nashville stressing discipline for Game 2 against Ducks

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- With emotions increasing the deeper into the Stanley Cup Playoffs the Nashville Predators get, they plan to keep stressing discipline against the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Final, which continues with Game 2 on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

The Predators won Game 1 of the best-of-7 series 3-2 in overtime. There were plenty of physical moments and nine power plays, five for Nashville, but neither team scored a power-play goal.

It will be no surprise if the hitting continues, or the attempts to push the opponent's buttons.

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Ducks series coverage]

 

"Just like we'd deal with it in any other playoff game, continue to stay focused," said Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, who set up the Game 1-winning goal by James Neal. "I think that discipline is probably the biggest factor in the playoffs so far. We know how hard teams check 5-on-5, and it's tough to get 5-on-5 goals, so when you do get an opportunity on the power play, you try to make it a difference.

"I think that special teams are huge, but discipline is probably the most important thing. So regardless of how chippy or physical things get, you want to try to stay out of the box."

The Predators have been shorthanded 28 times, least among teams that reached the second round, and 19 fewer than the Ducks in one fewer game.

"We talk about it all the time," Laviolette said Saturday. "We're trying to stay out of the penalty box as much as possible. Sometimes it's difficult. There's a lot of emotion out on the ice, both teams, and typically the team that can keep it together the most has the best chance of being successful.

"So it's something that gets talked about, I would think not only in our locker room but in any room at this point of the year. The stakes are too high."

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm1: Neal nets Subban's feed for OT win

With Game 1 tied 2-2, Nashville had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:27 but couldn't score.

"We had the opportunity to take the lead, and we have to give them credit," Subban said. "They've done such a good job over the years, sacrificing their body and getting in shooting lanes, and they did a good job killing that off.

"But I thought there was no panic on our team. We kept our composure, stuck to the process, and we got a lucky bounce and got the first win."

The Predators have allowed three power-play goals (89.3 percent) this postseason. The Ducks have allowed 13.

"You have to be willing to sacrifice your body, get in shooting lanes and kind of disrupt," Subban said. "There are some good players; when you're in the final four teams, every team has a pretty good power play and players that can break open a game.

"I think we've been doing a good job with our sticks, on entries and getting in passing lanes. All that stuff is important."

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