The Nashville Predators downed the Ducks on the road.
In 19 years as a franchise, the Nashville Predators have never opened a playoff series with two straight wins but after an exciting weekend in Anaheim, the Predators have done just that and are returning home with a very promising series lead.
As the reigning Pacific Division Champions, the Ducks had home ice advantage to begin this series but the Predators had other plans as they defeated Anaheim 3-2 in both Games 1 & 2 and shattered the predictions of many in the hockey media who were almost overwhelmingly against the Predators even being competitive in this series.
When this series began, Anaheim had everything going for them according to the experts. They had the best special teams in the league and a stalwart tandem in net that let in the fewest goals in the NHL this season. Two games later and the Ducks are quickly being backed into a corner that they’re going to need to fight their way out of if they want to salvage this series.
While the “experts” we’re busy talking about the Ducks powerplay and penalty kill squads they also forgot to consider a very important detail about the Predators. Nashville actually has a lot of depth to their roster this year and so far in these first two games, the Predators are using that to their advantage.
Predators With At Least 1 Point In The First Two Games Of The Playoffs
- Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg – 3
- Craig Smith, Colin Wilson – 2
- Shea Weber, James Neal, Ryan Johansen, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm – 1
The Predators scoring is widely distributed throughout their top lines and it’s causing all sorts of matchup problems for the Ducks. Only Andrew Cogliano has appeared on the scoresheet more than once for Anaheim so far in this series (1G,2A) and perhaps even more importantly the Ducks number one duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry has only managed a point apiece while Nashville’s top players like Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi are getting their names pencilled in all over the place.
Beating Them At Their Own Game
Perhaps the most important thing the Predators have managed to achieve in these first two games, besides taking home the wins, of course, is that they have completely thrown the Ducks off their game. You could visibly see the frustration on the Anaheim bench as the Predators outworked them shift after shift.
While the Ducks thrive on riling up their opponents and making them take bad penalties, in Game 2 it was Anaheim’s turn to keep the seat in the penalty box warm. In all the Ducks went to the box 6 times on Sunday and more often than not it was a critical player like Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry taking a bad penalty and hurting his team’s chances of success.
- Perry – 4 PIM
- Getzlaf – 2 PIM
Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau was obviously less than pleased with his team’s efforts in Game 2, especially from his leadership core, and the statements from his post game interview left little to the imagination.
Games 3 & 4
The Predators certainly made their job easier by stealing the first two games on the road from Anaheim but it’s still too early to say for certain that the Predators have this series locked up. History isn’t on the Ducks side and they will do everything they can to avoid giving Nashville a 3-0 series lead. That being said the Predators have had a much better record at home than they did on the road this season and the possibility of moving onto the second round early in front of the Nashville faithful is a tempting target for the team.
Between a Pekka Rinne that seems to have regained his dominant form and a potent combination of talented players at coach Laviolette’s disposal, it’s fair to say that Predators are eager to play these next few games and hopefully continue their recent success against a frustrated Ducks team.
Get ready to welcome the Predators back to Nashville and cheer on the team in Game 3 this Tuesday. Let’s go Predators!!