The Nashville Predators dominated the Anaheim Ducks across the stat sheet on Tuesday night, but didn’t secure the victory until the very end. Anaheim took a 1-0 lead into the third period despite being outshot 28 to 13 through the first two periods of action, but couldn’t hold the line against an onslaught from Nashville. The Predators swarmed the Ducks goal the entire third period tallying four goals, two were disallowed, and scored the game-winner with three minutes left.
Don’t miss the action on the ice from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 18, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBCSN. We will have NHL playoff hockey odds at BookMaker.eu for every postseason game.
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Nashville was one of the best home teams in the NHL during the regular season and that has continued to be the case in the postseason. The Predators went 24-9-6-2 in the regular season and are 6-0 during the postseason too. Defense has been the key in these home wins with none of the six games having more than five goals, meaning that no game went over the total.
As for Anaheim, the Ducks have been solid away from home, despite falling on Tuesday. They won their first four road tilts this postseason before getting blasted by Edmonton in Game 6 last series and dropping Game 3 against Nashville. This is a veteran team that won’t get rattled in enemy territory.
The game-winning goal that John Gibson let in looked weak, but he was having to deal with Predators forwards blocking his vision all night. Nashville was able to control the flow of the game by crashing the net and putting pucks on Gibson until he cracked. While the Predators tallied double-digit shots in every period, the Ducks weren’t able to get more than nine in any frame.
Nashville doubled up Anaheim in terms of shots 40 to 20, continuing a trend we saw in the first two games. The Predators outshot the Ducks in Game 1 by 17 shots and in Game 2 by 6 shots.
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How amazing has Pekka Rinne been? Rinne has to be the favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy with his sterling play this entire postseason and bounced back from his worst performance yet on Tuesday. The Finnish phenomenon allowed four goals in Game 2 and just didn’t look like the Rinne we have seen over the last month. He was back to his old self in Game 3, allowing just one goal, and putting up his best performance against Anaheim yet.
Rinne now has a 1.58 GAA and a .942 save percentage in the playoffs, numbers that are laughably better than those he posted in the regular season. He is the backbone of this Predators team and has an unselfish defense that keeps doing the dirty work in front of him.
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Anaheim has found success on the power play in the last two games. The Ducks beat Rinne on the man advantage in both Game 2 and Game 3, despite having just two chances in each game, and this may just be the best hope Anaheim has to win the series. They have gotten the worse end of it at even strength, so they will need to make the most of those chances.
Anaheim’s defense has got to play better in front of Gibson. The Predators are averaging 40 shots a game in this series and are largely winning the possession battle as well. This has to change for the Ducks to even the series.
Unfortunately for Anaheim, this team hasn’t provided many reasons for optimism. The one win was largely the result of Rinne having a bad night and the veteran team may just be out of gas. The under is the best play, but if you want to pick up a side, you have to go with the Preds.
NHL Playoff Odds: Predators 2, Ducks 0
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