Breaking down the game with Jeremy K. Gover of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. Includes Mike Fisher, Shea Weber & Peter Laviolette.
Tuesday night didn’t go the way the Nashville Predators and their fans wanted. Carrying a 2-0 series lead, the Predators had the opportunity to put a death grip on the Anaheim Ducks by taking a 3-0 series lead. In a twisted outcome, the Ducks defeated Nashville by a final score of 3-0.
The first period started with limited shots on goal for both teams. For a moment, it felt like there was a brief feeling out period during the first. Midway through the first, the Ducks took the lead off a Jamie McGinn goal and they never looked back.
“There’s no need to get into details, it’s just that we just weren’t good enough in all areas,” said Ryan Johansen. “We weren’t quick, we weren’t fast, we didn’t use our legs and we didn’t use our brains as fast as we needed to. That’s why it looked easy out there for them.
It wasn’t as physical as the first two games, and it could be seen that Anaheim was doing its best not to commit penalties. Compared to hit numbers in the 30s and 40s in games one and two, neither team crossed the 30-hit mark on Tuesday night.
Unfortunately for Nashville, Craig Smith left the game with a lower body injury after only playing two shifts. Following his injury, head coach Peter Laviolette was forced to jumble his lines. In doing so, the offense just could not find an overall rhythm throughout the game.
“He’s played well for us, but it’s the playoffs,” said Mike Fisher on Craig Smith. “That happened to them in Game One and it’s part of it. We have enough guys to chip in and shuffle around. Everyone’s played with everyone this year and it’s obviously no excuse.”
“I don’t think we did a great job getting to the front of their net,” said Shea Weber. “A lot of our shots were from the outside. We’ve got to do a better job of getting to the interior, getting traffic and second opportunities.”
Even with Anaheim’s best effort to give the Predators power play opportunities, five total, Nashville could not convert. The units were discombobulated and the Predators didn’t punish the Ducks like they did in Game Two.
“A lot of times teams operate just like you do five-on-five (on the penalty kill),” said head coach Peter Laviolette. “When your team’s got jumps on five-on-five you often have jumps on special teams as well. Conversely, when you don’t have the pop, there’s a good chance you don’t have it on the power play or penalty kill either. I think there’s a correlation there and one reflects the other. Their five-on-five game was sharp and their penalty kill was sharp as well.”
There won’t be much time to focus on what went wrong Tuesday night. The team will practice on Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena and, as it goes with the playoffs, Nashville will have another chance to win their third game of the series in less than 48 hours.