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Ducks vs Predators: Western Conference Finals Preview

17 Mai 2017

The Ducks penalty kill came into the Western Conference finals with a measly 69% over a playoff leading 55 opportunities.

James Neal's goal 9:24 into overtime gave the Predators a 3-2 win in game one, stealing home ice advantage away from the Pacific Division champions. The Ducks are slight series favourites on Sports Interaction NHL odds. In both playoff series, the Ducks won on the back of their captain.

This matchup will likely be closer in style to the Predators grinding victory over the St. Louis Blues than the up-tempo style that was the norm in Anaheim's win over Edmonton.

Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis has provided more scoring from the blue line this postseason.

Although this conference final matches two Sun Belt clubs 2,000 miles apart, they have a feisty history.

Maroon felt that disappointment in 2015, when Anaheim was ousted in the conference final by the Chicago Blackhawks, and in 2014 when they were beaten in the second round by Los Angeles. The record is 32 seasons by the Arizona Coyotes before they reached the 2012 Western Conference Finals.

Anaheim took a 1-0 lead on Silfverberg's unassisted goal, his eighth of the playoffs, at 5:15 of the opening period.

The Predators have advanced largely on the strength of their stellar corps of defensemen in front of Rinne.

Nobody gets anything in the Stanley Cup playoffs without a grind, and these two teams are on it. It's no secret that the Preds' offensive game runs through their blueliners, and they were active in creating chances.

Lauri Korpikoski, Columbus: Played nine games in the regular season for Columbus, but none in the playoffs. Take the three won by Southern California's two National Hockey League teams. Rinne was 1-1-1 with a 2.63 GAA and.919 save percentage. Subban had an assist. Finally, the Ducks bested the Predators in a shootout in March 4-3.

Kris Russell, Edmonton: Received good reviews from Oilers fans after averaging 22:01 in 13 playoff games. There was no Predator backing down from the Ducks.

Game 2 is Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Game 1 is Friday night in Anaheim. It should come as no shock that its winning a battle the Predators have relied on so much this postseason. "Any goal-scorer or anybody that gets a goal, any time in the playoffs, it's emotional".

It's possible head coach Todd McLellan will keep the two stars apart moving forward as a means of deepening an Edmonton lineup which should soon include 19-year-old Finn Jesse Puljujarvi, the fourth overall pick in 2016.

NOTES: Anaheim remained without two key injured veterans. Subban then faked a shot and slid the puck to the right to Neal, who one-timed a slap shot that glanced off Corey Perry and into the net for the game-winner. That dates all the way back to the regular season, though. D Kevin Bieksa missed his seventh straight game, while F Patrick Eaves missed his fifth straight game with a leg injury.

The second round didn't have as many overtimes games as the first round, but the games still had there excitement none the less.

Still, it wasn't until Carlyle was sacked and Mike Babcock was brought in as a head coach that both Gardiner and Kadri enjoyed career seasons. Losing at home isn't as devastating as it could be, since they're already 4-1 on the road this postseason. The Ducks also got several good saves from Gibson, who has raised his level of play from the first two rounds.

"No guy will use the short turnaround from Game 7 as an excuse", Thompson said.

The Ducks are +225 to win their second Cup. Having that extra time to rest, however, could result in some early rust against the Ducks. The Predators were rolling, so will that mini-bye week slow them down? Though it's considered blasphemy to say so, McDavid was a non-factor in the series, due in large part to the tenacious checking of Kesler.

"It was certainly a step in the right direction", Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. The Ducks can look back at last season where the Predators - who largely have the same cast returning - forced them to win twice at Bridgestone Arena after taking the first two games.

Ducks vs Predators: Western Conference Finals Preview