The Nashville Predators loss by the exact same score last night as they did on Tuesday night (3); only difference, they scored a goal. Final score, 4-1. It’s a seven game series for a reason. This series is now tied 2-2. The Predators have only scored one goal in two home games. That will not get it done versus these Ducks. They must now return to Anaheim, California to see if they can relocate their confidence for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon. “Got to get the next one,” said Predators captain Shea Weber.
Although the Predators certainly played with more energy and put forth a significantly better effort than in Game 3, they had chance after chance to put points on the board, but failed tremendously. The Anaheim Ducks keep traipsing to the penalty box over and over against the Preds. Through four games, the Predators have been punchless on the power play, dropping to 1-for-19 for the series after not scoring on six chances again last night. The Ducks’ penalty kill led the NHL this season, but the Predators haven’t made them work that hard. “We’re playing with fire,” stated Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. “We’ve got to keep them to two or three minors a game or it gets too hard on all your players that kill the penalties.” It hasn’t hurt the Ducks yet, and they head home having dug themselves out of an 0-2 series hole. “We don’t want to keep doing that to ourselves,” Ryan Getzlaf said of the penalties.
Getzlaf put the Ducks up 1-0, 62 seconds into the game, when he poked the puck past Pekka Rinne off a shot from David Perron. Coming off his 3-0 shutout in the previous contest, Frederik Andersen stopped the seven shots the Ducks didn’t block in the first period. Andersen picked up his second straight win by making 30 saves and setting a career shutout streak of 91 minutes, 26 seconds in the postseason. Nate Thompson and Jamie McGinn scored nearly 2 minutes apart late in the second. Andrew Cogliano also scored, sealing the win with his second goal of the series at 16:52 in the final period.
Despite out-shooting the Ducks for a second straight game, this time with a 31-25 edge in shots, Nashville’s offense has sputtered. The Predators dominated in the second though, pressuring Andersen with shot after shot. The relentless Predators resurfaced, pinning the Ducks in the defensive zone for long stretches before breaking a five-period scoreless spell on center Mike Fisher’s first goal of the series on a snap shot from the right side off a pass from Colin Wilson, beating Andersen to the far side of the net to tie it up. The Ducks killed off two more penalties in the third however, helping Andersen by blocking more shots and flooding the slot in front of their goalie. The Ducks blocked 25 shots.
The playoffs are long and go back and fourth. “Our guys will be ready to play in Anaheim,” said Peter Laviolette.