Will Ducks keep feeling the flow vs. Predators?
Even after Anaheim fell into a 0-2 hole in its first-round playoff matchup with the Predators, one got the sense that the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed would not bow out quietly. Yet few probably expected the utterly emphatic nature of Tuesday’s response.
In addition to finally showing signs of an offensive pulse, Bruce Boudreau’s club received stellar goaltending. The end result: a 3-0 victory that put this series back on the map as one to watch.
The action resumes tonight, with an 8 p.m. ET opening faceoff at Bridgestone Arena. Host Nashville is garnering odds of -105 to bounce back, according to online sports book Bovada.lv, while the Ducks enter as -115 underdogs. The over/under total rests at five goals.
It’s no surprise that the two teams are essentially even in the eyes of handicappers. Anaheim staved off the worst possible scenario by uniting behind new netminder Frederik Andersen, who stopped all 27 shots in Game 3. Replacing the ineffective John Gibson, Anderson outdueled the venerable Pekka Rinne and continued his remarkable second-half surge. The Denmark native boasts a 17-1-2 record with a 1.80 GAA in his last 20 outings. Clearly, this is a far cry from the individual who imploded in the 2014-15 conference finals against Chicago.
Still, the Ducks’ discipline needs to be ratcheted up in a hurry. They’ve yielded five power-play chances in back-to-back contests, just begging Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen to wreak havoc. On a related note, Boudreau would love to see Corey Perry begin to assert himself when Anaheim receives the man advantage. The former Hart Trophy winner’s in danger of going four straight postseason affairs without a goal for the first time since 2013.
The Preds’ impeccable Music City performance notwithstanding, we fear that Peter Laviolette’s troops gave the Ducks renewed life two nights ago. It’ll be hard enough to rebound with a W, let alone prevail by multiple tallies.
THURSDAY NHL FREE PICK: DUCKS +1.5