The Nashville Predators started out the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs in a very impressive fashion. Nashville started the scoring 35 seconds into the game with a James Neal snipe. Anaheim responded with two straight goals from Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. Colin Wilson got into the framework with his own goal to tie the game at 7:55 of the second period. Filip Forsberg closed out the game with the only goal of the third period to give Nashville the lead.
The Preds defeated the Pacific Division champions 3-2 in Anaheim. Nashville will look to continue their impressive style of play as they take on the Ducks tonight with a 9:30 puck drop.
Keys to Watch
For only the fifth time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators went into game one of a playoff series and got the victory. Previously, the Preds have went on to win two series (Anaheim, 2011-Detroit, 2012) after winning game one. For the first time in the history of the organization, with a Predators win tonight, they will have the opportunity to take a 2-0 lead against a physical Ducks squad. The Predators have never went up 2-0 in a playoff series. The Ducks will come out tonight and try to match the physicality of the Preds. Nashville will have to ride the wave and quiet the Anaheim crowd early.
Stay Out of the Box
During the regular season, the Anaheim Ducks had the NHL’s best power-play conversion rate (23.1). The Nashville Predators cannot make ill-advised penalties against the Ducks. One specific instance of an unneeded penalty was the Cody Bass unsportsmanlike conduct against Ryan Garbutt at 10:37 of the second period. Granted, Garbutt put on an Oscar-worthy performance, but Bass should have not put himself and his team in that situation. To go up 2-0 in the series, the Preds have to stay out of the box.
Don’t Take the Bait
After the final bell tolled on Friday night, the Nashville Predators were baited by the Anaheim Ducks players, especially Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, in trying to incite a fight. The Ducks will continue their “goon-like” behavior tonight. The Predators cannot take the bait. Fighting against the Ducks will be negative for multiple reasons. First, they will not be on the ice due to the penalty time for fighting. Second, and more important, it can give the Ducks an advantage from a boost perspective. Once again, don’t take the bait, and let’s take a 2-0 lead in the series.
The Nashville Predators will look to change the history books of this organization with a win tonight. Be sure to take catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee, NBCSN, or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Remember to stay up late with the Preds with a 9:30 pm puck drop!