February 04, 2015

The Anaheim Ducks' first-round playoff series is following the same pattern as their regular season.

Surging toward the second round after dropping the first two games, Anaheim looks to complete the comeback in Game 6 as it visits the Nashville Predators on Monday night.

Much like their stumbling first six weeks of the season which preceded a scorching stretch that lifted them into the playoffs, the Ducks looked all but done in this series with a pair of 3-2 home losses to open it. They promptly headed to Nashville and won both games by a combined 7-1, then earned a 5-2 victory at Honda Center on Saturday.

"Those first two games we lost at home were rock bottom for us," said forward Ryan Garbutt, who scored the go-ahead goal in the second period. "We definitely want to finish it off in six."

A major reason for the turnaround has been Frederik Andersen, who took over for John Gibson after Game 2 and stopped 27 shots Saturday in a third straight excellent performance.

Anaheim scored three times in the third period to overcome a 1-for-7 effort on the power play, which hasn't been very effective in this series. That power-play goal was a timely one, though, as Cam Fowler scored with 3:23 left to give the Ducks a two-goal lead.

"We have a chance to go there and close it (out), and we've got to do it," said forward David Perron, who had the tying goal in the second and assisted on Garbutt's tally.

The Ducks, tops in the league on the power play and penalty kill during the regular season, are 2 for 19 in this series with the man advantage. But they've extended their exceptional work while short-handed into the playoffs, holding the Predators to 1 for 22 on the power play.

"We had the most looks and the most chances, but there's not a lot of room out there," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said after Saturday's contest. "After Game 1, they really clamped down."

Getzlaf has created plenty of problems for the Predators with two goals and three assists, and four other Ducks have two goals in the series as Anaheim's depth appears to be taking its toll on Laviolette's club.

Puck-moving defenseman Sami Vatanen recorded a goal and an assist Saturday and was a plus-3, improving him to plus-6 in the series. That ties defense partner Hampus Lindholm - with whom Vatanen was paired when Josh Manson was injured in Game 1 - for tops on the team.

"You look at any team that's won the (Stanley) Cup and it's never been smooth sailing though the playoffs," Predators center Ryan Johansen told the team's official website. "Adversity is going to hit and our backs are against the wall now. One thing in our favor is we're going home to a city that's going to be buzzing to try and help us and be there with us and support us.

"Our job is to throw on the jersey at home and try and bring it back here to Anaheim."

Johansen got his first goal of the series to open the scoring in the second period, but Perron's and Garbutt's goals followed in the next 2:10.

Nashville is 0-8 when losing three of the first five games in a playoff series. The Predators have dropped four of their last six postseason games at Bridgestone Arena, totaling four goals in the defeats and getting shut out twice.

They went 0 for 11 on the power play in Games 1 and 2.

"We're going to take the good things from this game, we're going to go home and regroup and be ready to play," Laviolette told the team's website. "I have no question that our guys will be ready."

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