National Hockey League
Predators-Ducks Preview
National Hockey League

Predators-Ducks Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 4:15 p.m. ET

What's uncharted territory for the Nashville Predators is a haunting reminder for the Anaheim Ducks.

After forcing the first Game 7 in team history, the Predators attempt to end the Ducks' season in the exact fashion the previous three have concluded Wednesday night.

Monday's 3-1 loss in Nashville can't help but conjure memories of Anaheim's recent playoff failures as it returns home for the finale of this opening-round series. The Ducks also owned a 3-2 series lead over Chicago in last year's Western Conference finals before losing Game 6 on the road and Game 7 at Honda Center.

That same scenario unfolded against Los Angeles in the second round in 2014 and against Detroit in the 2013 quarterfinals.


''It's a new team, new time,'' coach Bruce Boudreau said. ''Every year is different. Every day is different. We're looking forward to the game.''

Still, history isn't exactly on the Ducks' side. They've lost four consecutive Game 7s since defeating Calgary in 2006 and Boudreau, behind the bench for the last three such defeats, is 1-5 in winner-take-all games.

"Nothing needs to be said," captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "We've got to go out and do it. There's no big speech or anything when it comes to Game 7. Everyone knows what they're doing, and we've got to go out and execute better than the other group."

Though Nashville has never been in this position, its coach has plenty of experience - and success - in these situations. Peter Laviolette is 4-1 in Game 7s, the most notable a 3-1 win over Edmonton in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final with Carolina.

''I don't think there's anything better in the Stanley Cup (playoffs) than a Game 7 when everything means something,'' he said. ''It's a big game, our guys will be excited.''

Nashville still has some work to do to reach its first conference semifinal since 2012. The Predators are 1 for 23 on the power play in the series and have had a tough time against Frederik Andersen in the Anaheim goaltender's four starts.

Andersen temporarily turned the series in the Ducks' favor after replacing John Gibson following a 3-2 home loss in Game 2. He stopped 84 of 87 shots to lead Anaheim to wins in the next three.

Outplayed by Andersen in each, Pekka Rinne was more than up to the challenge Monday. The All-Star made 26 saves, including a point-blank stop of Corey Perry with 6:40 left that protected a 2-1 lead.

Mattias Ekholm and James Neal put Nashville ahead with second-period goals and Shea Weber had an empty-netter in the final seconds that sealed the Predators' first Game 6 win when facing elimination. They had been 0-8.

''They're fighting for their lives, and we knew that we were going to get their best,'' said Getzlaf, held off the scoresheet after producing two goals and three assists over the first five games.

Andersen owns a 1.26 goals-against average in the series. However, he struggled against Chicago in Game 7 last year, yielding two first-period goals and stopping just 21 shots in a 5-3 defeat.

San Jose awaits Wednesday's winner after dispatching Los Angeles in five games.


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