Though the start to the postseason was rather inauspicious, it looks as though the Anaheim Ducks have found their game. On Saturday, April 23, 2016, in front of a standing-room-only sellout crowd of 17,380 at Honda Center in Anaheim, the Ducks beat the Nashville Predators by a final score of 5-2. By virtue of the victory, the Ducks now have a three games to two lead in the opening round best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series.
This was the first home win of the series, for either team. The Ducks had home-ice advantage to start the series, but lost the first two games by identical scores of 3-2. The Ducks then went on the road and bested the Predators in the next two games, by scores of 3-0 and 4-1, respectively.
With this latest victory, which was the Ducks’ third straight, the team now stands just one win away from advancing to the second round of playoffs. The San Jose Sharks await the winner of the series.
Since the lackluster start, the Ducks have dominated the Predators. They have outscored the Music city squad by a combined score of 12-3 over the last three games. It was seemingly just a chemistry issue, which it appears was solved when head coach Bruce Boudreau made a change in goaltenders after the team lost the first two games. It was then that Frederik Andersen replaced John Gibson, as the team’s last line of defense.
Though by the numbers, there is very little difference between the two netminders, the team seems to be more comfortable with Andersen between the pipes. There is no reason to think of it as a slight to Gibson, rather it is just one of those quirky team chemistry things. For whatever reason, Andersen provides more of a spark. That spark now has them going into Nashville on Monday night, April 25, with a chance to close out the series. Game time is set for 5:00 p.m. PT.
April 25 should be a great evening of Stanley Cup playoff hockey. Roughly 30 minutes after the Ducks begin play against Nashville, the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks will begin play in St. Louis, in what should be a terrific game seven matchup against the Blues. The winner of that series, will face the Dallas Stars in the next round.
Stanley Cup Playoffs – Opening round update: On Thursday, April 21, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings by a final score of 1-0, to win the opening round series, four games to one. On Friday, April 22, the San Jose Sharks beat the Los Angeles Kings by a final score of 6-3 to win the series, four games to one. On Saturday, April 23, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New York Rangers by a final score of 6-3, to win the series, four games to one.
On Sunday, April 24, three more teams advanced to the second round. All of the series ended in six games. The Washington Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 1-0, the Dallas Stars defeated the Minnesota Wild by a score of 5-4, and in double overtime, the New York Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers by a score of 2-1. The Capitals will face Pittsburgh in the next round, while the Islanders will face Tampa Bay. The NHL has yet to announce the dates and start times for the next round of playoffs.