Predators at Ducks
Having handed the Nashville Predators their first home defeat of the postseason, the Anaheim Ducks return to Honda Center to host Game 5 of the Western Conference final on Saturday night. Anaheim's dramatic overtime victory in Thursday's Game 4 ended a 10-game home winning streak for Nashville, which lost No. 1 center Ryan Johansen for the rest of the playoffs.
While the Ducks reclaimed home ice with the 3-2 overtime win, the Predators won the series opener at Honda Center and posted three wins at Anaheim in last year's first-round playoff matchup - including a winner-take-all Game 7. Yet Nashville will face a daunting challenge to repeat that accomplishment following the jarring news that Johansen underwent emergency surgery on his left thigh following Thursday night's game and will require two to three months to recover. The Ducks blew a two-goal lead in the final 6 1/2 minutes of regulation but avoided a potentially crushing defeat on Corey Perry's third overtime goal of the postseason off a fluke deflection. “The last three or four years, we’ve obviously gone through a lot,” Ducks goalie John Gibson told reporters. “More downs in the playoffs than ups. I think we just learned from that and I think now we have a sense of calmness. And we have the ability to always regroup, whether we’re up or we’re down or something bad happens."
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVAS
ABOUT THE PREDATORS: Johansen, who has not missed a game since his acquisition from Columbus in the middle of the 2015-16 season, was enjoying a stellar postseason with 13 points and 14 games and was a plus-4 in the series against Anaheim. His absence will put even more pressure on linemate Filip Forsberg, who notched the tying goal with 34.5 seconds in Game 4 to force overtime and is the first player in seven years to score in each of the first four games of a conference final. The Predators also could be without captain and center Mike Fisher, who suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 4 and is questionable.
ABOUT THE DUCKS: Corey Perry offered a simple assessment after scoring Anaheim's only goal on a bad-angle shot in Game 3, basically telling reporters you can't score if you don't shoot, and he reinforced that point with the decisive tally Thursday. Perry threw a shot at the net from between the right circle and the boards that deflected off the stick of Predators defenseman P.K. Subban and past Rinne to give the Ducks new life. “I’ll take it,” Perry told reporters. "I was trying to create traffic or create a bounce and create havoc in front. And that’s what they say in overtime. Throw it on net, you never know what can happen.”
1. Ducks F Rickard Rakell, KO'd by an elbow in Game 4 after scoring his seventh goal of the playoffs, was OK, coach Randy Carlyle said Friday.
2. Predators F Viktor Arvidsson has five assists during a three-game point streak.
3. Anaheim is 4-1 and Nashville 2-1 in overtime during the 2017 playoffs, with the only losses against each other.