The Anaheim Ducks are looking to win their fourth straight game against the Nashville Predators and close out the first-round series.
Can the @AnaheimDucks close out the series tonight?
— #StanleyCup Playoffs (@NHL) April 25, 2016
Things didn’t start so smoothly for the Anaheim Ducks this post-season. In their first game against Nashville, the Ducks lost by a score of 3-2. In that contest, the Ducks went down early, giving up a goal in the first half-minute of the game, as detailed on the Anaheim Ducks‘ website. The Game 1 loss did not faze Ducks’ head coach Bruce Boudreau in the least.
“Plenty of teams have lost the first game and have come back and won, then won again.”
Anaheim would certainly win and win again. Not before losing the second game of the playoff series however. Ironically, it was by the same score, 3-2, that the Ducks gave up game 2 of the series. The Ducks would see their home-ice advantage quickly evaporate as Nashville won those first two games on the road.
Once again, as recounted on the Ducks‘ website, their head coach was not deterred by the result of the game.
“The one thing about this team is the resiliency… We’ve gone through some tough times, and this is no different.”
Sure enough, Anaheim would bounce back strongly after dropping the first two games. The Ducks proved why they were the No. 1 seed from the Pacific Division as they stormed back from the two-game deficit.
Not only did the Ducks win their first playoff game of this campaign, but they did so on the road in Nashville, and by a shutout score of 3-0. It took Anaheim just 21 shots to net 3 goals, while goaltender Frederik Andersen and the Ducks turned away all 27 shots taken by the Predators.
Game 4 was another victory for Anaheim, as the Ducks tied up the series 2-2. This was another lopsided win for Anaheim, with the score going 4-1 in the Ducks’ favor. Netminder Frederik Andersen was the first star of the game, as he put the team on his back to even things up. Nashville managed to get off 32 shots in the fourth game, and Andersen turned away all but one of those shot attempts.
— Bauer Hockey (@BauerHockey) April 22, 2016
Although two goals would get past Andersen in the fifth game of the series, Anaheim still managed to defeat Nashville by a three-goal margin. The Ducks helped defend for their goaltender in Game 5, getting in front of 14 shots. Of the 29 shots that the Predators managed to get on net, only two would get past Andersen, as Anaheim pulled out the 5-2 win and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
To win their fourth in a row, and close out the series, Anaheim will need more of what they’ve shown recently. Shot-blocking from their defenders. Exceptional play in net. Continued production from their best offensive players. These are the things which will lead to win No. 4 and moving on to the second round of the playoffs for the Ducks.
Anaheim’s big centerman, Ryan Getzlaf, has led the charge offensively in the post-season, as he did during the regular season. Getzlaf has 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in the 5 playoff games for Anaheim.
Andrew Cogliano has followed closely on Getzlaf’s heels with 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists). Cogliano’s 2 goals have come on just 5 shots, giving him an astounding 40 percent shot success rate.
Somewhat surprisingly, Anaheim’s leading goal-scorer in the regular season, by far, has not yet found the back of the net in these playoffs. Look for that to change.
[Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]