Ducks aim to put finishing move on Preds

Ducks aim to put finishing move on Preds

Frederik Andersen was a forgotten man for the majority of April. Luckily for Anaheim, he’s re-emerged at just the right time.

The red-hot goaltender leads the Ducks into a closeout opportunity against Nashville tonight, with an 8 p.m. ET opening draw in the Music City. Oddsmakers at online sports book Bovada.lv prefer the rising road team as a 1.5-goal favorite.

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This series pivoted as soon as Andersen took over for John Gibson following Game 2. Bruce Boudreau’s club has now reeled off three victories in a row, including Saturday’s 5-2 final at Honda Center. Anderson made 27 saves in a third straight exemplary showing in net.

Given the depressing nature of playoff history at home, though, the Preds might wonder if they’d be better off staying on the West Coast. Nashville has lost four of the last six postseason tilts at Bridgestone Arena, registering four goals in the defeats and getting blanked twice. Two-time All-Star Pekka Rinne must rise to Andersen’s level in goal and hope that Boudreau’s high-profile power-play unit keeps struggling.

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The Predators have plenty of man-advantage issues, too. Defenseman Shea Weber boasts the lone special-teams tally through 15 periods of action. Top-flight forwards Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen are laboring, too, combining for five points and a -4 rating.

Anaheim recognizes that it’s far from perfect right now, but the victories do continue to build. Nashville already failed to vanquish the Pacific Division champs when they were exceedingly vulnerable. In a few hours, Peter Laviolette’s group will pay the price for that grievous mistake.

MONDAY NHL FREE PICK: DUCKS -1.5

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