Ducks Scramble Back Into Series
Frederik Andersen entered as Anaheim's second choice in goal, and emerged as the hero that keeps the Ducks in their series with the Nashville Predators. Andersen and the Ducks' 3-0 win in Game 3 on Tuesday pulled them to within 2-1 on the series. The Ducks hang around Music City before trying to even the series on Thursday.
Not that Andersen had that much of a challenge on Tuesday. James Neal, Filip Forsberg and Shea Weber didn't look as plucky as they had in leading the Predators to the commanding advantage in the opening two games of the series. And the Preds displayed some sloppy play in their own end. Nevertheless, Andersen, who started in place of John Gibson, got 27 saves and a shutout the Ducks dearly needed to maintain.
Much of Game 3 plodded along with both teams waiting for the other to make a mistake. That first mistake came when the Preds lost the puck at their own blue line, and one quick pass later, Jamie McGinn was set up with a goal from the right side to make it 1-0. In the second period, Rickard Rakell air-tipped a spinner in from 12 feet out. Then the Ducks virtually sealed it with Chris Stewart's goal as time ran down in the period.
These teams still appear pretty evenly matched and defense minded, with time spans of play in which you wonder how either team will score. The Ducks have registered a lot of penalty time all through the series, and took five penalties Tuesday night. I like the Preds to recover on Thursday and at least make it a game, if for no other reason than to redeem themselves before the home crowd. Give me +105 or better, and I'll take Nashville at home. The line-makers have apparently caught up to the value of the under in this series, but if a plus figure somehow resurfaces, the under 5 looks good. And with two home games left, if the Ducks come out ahead Thursday, they should win the series, even if it goes to a seventh game.
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