Breaking down Game 4 with Jeremy K. Gover of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. Includes analysis on the power play and the embellishment call on Viktor Arvidsson. Clips from Peter Laviolette, Ryan Johansen, Shea Weber and Mike Fisher.
If there’s one thing that Nashville Predators fans can hang on to following the Game 4 loss is that the road team has won each game so far in the series, and the Predators can have up to four road games out of the best-of-seven. While the effort from the team was much better on Thursday night as compared to Game 3 on Tuesday night, Nashville still lost 4-1.
“You know, we’re going against a good defensive team,” said head coach Peter Laviolette. “They (Anaheim) have been a top defensive team in 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill. The chances are harder to come by, there are stretches where I thought we had some looks. There were stretches where I thought the power play had a look. We have got to execute when we get those opportunities. It was far better tonight than it was in Game Three, where I don’t think we generated much at all.”
With holding a 2-1 series lead coming into Game 4, the Predators had the opportunity to gain a 3-1 series lead. They just couldn’t bury their chances.
“There were parts of that game where we were playing good and the crowd was in it and we were feeling good about our game,” said Mike Fisher. “They came back, responded with some quick goals, and we couldn’t find a way to break through there in the third. That was the difference.”
What has continued to trouble Nashville during this entire series is their power play. Anaheim came into the postseason with the number one penalty kill unit, and it’s certainly living up to it. On Thursday night, the Predators had some wonderful chances, but they just couldn’t covert. They were 0-for-6 with the man advantage. On the series, they are 1-for-19.
“I thought last game we had a lot of, I don’t know exactly how many chances, some good chances,” said Shea Weber. “We knew it was going to be tough. They’re the top special teams in the League and we’re going to keep working at it and hopefully get some success.”
Peter Laviolette echoed those thoughts and knows that his team had some good opportunities, but knows they can do more to convert.
“We’ll go back and look at it,” said Laviolette. “Like I said, there (were) lots of opportunities on the power play tonight. There’s quality chances. We had looks, we had the shots we want and we didn’t bury them. So maybe there’s things we can do underneath that, but we’ll go back and look at it.”
In both games in Nashville, once the Ducks gained the lead, they completely shut Nashville down. Even though the Predators had 31 shots on goal, there were only, once again, few quality scoring chances. ON top of that, the Ducks blocked 25 shots. Anaheim forced Nashville to remain on the perimeter and suffocated Nashville’s offensive opportunities.
The series now shifts back to Anaheim for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon. Both teams will be back in Nashville for Game 6 on Monday evening. The Predators will not practice on Friday before departing for California, so they’re next time to hit the ice will be for morning skate on Saturday.
Photo credit: Christina McCullough