By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks have advanced to the Western Conference Final and face the Nashville Predators in Game 1 tonight. The Ducks were 2-1-0 against the Predators in the regular season. The Ducks have played the Predators twice in the playoffs in 2016 and 2011, losing both series.
According to Randy Carlyle, Kevin Bieksa could be available tonight. Patrick Eaves could come back later at some point in this series. Clayton Stoner is an available option as well. The Ducks did recall up center Sam Carrick and he could play on the 4th line if necessary tonight. The Ducks are going to face Nashville with only one day off.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks are going to need to get traffic in front of Pekka Rinne. His goals against average in the first two rounds has been an exceptional 1.37 and his save percentage has been .951%. The Ducks also need to improve their special teams. They are 13.9% efficient on the power play and only 69% on the penalty kill in the playoffs so far.
Anaheim Projected Lineup
John Gibson (Probable)
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Nashville surprised many with a sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks. They then beat the St. Louis Blues in six games. They last played on Sunday May 7th, so they had almost a full week of rest. This is the first visit to the Western Conference Final for Nashville.
Keys To The Game
Nashville brings a balanced attack with the ability to roll four lines that can each score. The Predators have been the best defensive team in the playoffs so far only allowing 14 goals in 10 games. The Predators have been 20.0% efficient on the power play and will look to work the forecheck and draw penalties against Anaheim.
Nashville Projected Lineup
Pekka Rinne (Probable)
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May 12th, 2017