Keys to Watch
High Stakes Night
Tonight, the Nashville Predators will try to take a 3-1 series lead after a 3-0 loss against the Ducks on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. The game tonight is crucial to the series, where some analysts are stating the winner of game four will go on to win the series. Currently, Nashville has home-ice advantage after taking the first two games of the series on the road in Anaheim. A loss tonight and Nashville will give back to the Ducks home-ice advantage. The Predators need to come out with the same fire, the same intensity as the first two games. The performance on Tuesday was not good, and most players agreed with that analysis. A Nashville loss tonight and Anaheim will secure all of the momentum heading back to California for game five.
After the first two games of the series, the Anaheim Ducks decided to make a switch in goal. Coach Bruce Boudreau called in Frederik Andersen to control of the net, and did he ever. Andersen was phenomenal stopping 27 shots and shutting out the Predators offense that was averaging 3.00 goals per game. The Herning, Denmark native gave new hope to the Anaheim squad. On the season, Andersen was 22-9-7, with a 2.30 goals against average and .919 save percentage with three shutouts. The Preds will need to find any way in defeating Andersen. If not, Nashville could be in some serious trouble.
Craig Smith Update
Craig Smith has been listed as “day-to-day” after leaving early in game three with a lower-body injury. If Smith can’t go, the Predators will have to fill his top-six void into the lineup. One possible scenario will be to move Colin Wilson to fill Smith’s spot and give either Eric Nystrom or Austin Watson an opportunity for playoff action. With Nystrom, you get an experienced veteran who knows how to play post-season hockey. With Watson, the lineup gets a younger player with fresh legs looking to make an impact moving forward in his career. Either way, expect lineup changes if Smith can’t be in the lineup this evening. (Note: During practice on Wednesday, Colton Sissons skated on the fourth line)
Tonight will be a crucial test for the Nashville Predators. Be sure to catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee, NHL Network, or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. The plaza party, featuring the smash car, begins at 4:00 pm. Puck drops at 7:00 pm!