It is a term that has been repeated adnauseum in the series between the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators. Yet, the meaning is different to both teams.
For Nashville, it centers around accountability.
Despite holding a 2-1 series lead, the Predators aren’t thrilled with how they played in their first loss of the series in Game 3.
“We know we’re up in the series here, but it still puts a bad taste in our mouth going forward,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “We were unhappy with the way we played, and especially in front of our home crowd after two great games in Anaheim, so we’re just looking at coming out with a much better effort. We know this could be a long series, so for us to be successful, we have to get back to our identity.”
When it comes to getting back to what made the Preds successful, perhaps the Bill Belichick-ian motto of “Do your job” would be more appropriate.
“I think the first step in fixing things is the realization that we can be better and to be more accountable to the way we play the game,” [coach Peter] Laviolette said. “… Our team has proven that when we don’t come out and play the game we want to, we usually take a step back in the right direction, so we’re moving forward from there and that’s the right mindset to have.
“That’s the reason why we do turn things around after we play poorly is because we’ve got the right people in the room that recognize things and realize things and then make sure that we do the right things moving forward in practice the next day or in the upcoming game. We feel confident about that.”
One thing Nashville should have recognized by this point is their lack of scoring with the man advantage.
The Ducks have paraded to the penalty box in all three games played, but the Predators have failed to capitalize on the opportunities; going 1 for 13 against the league’s best regular season penalty kill.
Shea Weber has the lone power play goal, but not for a lack of trying. Of the 24 total power play shots, Weber has seven from his office up around the top of the circle.
Anaheim has managed to keep Nashville from getting set up, or when they do, they’re interrupting the passes meant for Weber or Roman Josi at the points. If all else fails, the Ducks block shots and rely on their goaltender to get a good look at the puck from far away before stopping it.
(M: missed shot, S: saves, B: blocked shot)
One player Nashville will likely be without is Craig Smith. The center left Game 3 after playing only 1:05 in the first period with a lower body injury. He had a goal and an assist in the two games played prior to injury.
All signs point to Colton Sissons making his playoff debut. In the regular season, Sissons had 6 points in 34 games for Nashville.
As for Anaheim, their ‘business like’ mentality began as a swift kick in the pants from head coach Bruce Boudreau after Game 2. He called out his veterans for taking stupid penalties and switched goaltenders, opting to go with Frederik Andersen over John Gibson.
The team responded as expected.
The now grounded Ducks quit the after whistle nonsense that allowed the for the Predators to get in the team’s head. They still went to the penalty box five times, but for more ‘allowable’ penalties that prevented goals.
They take nothing for granted, though. Anaheim can’t afford to go back to the version of themselves from Games 1 and 2. The Predators want to win in order to take a commanding 3-1 series lead back to Anaheim for the potential upset.
“It’s that business-like mentality,” said Ducks center Nate Thompson. “We have to come out the same way, or probably even better, because we know they’re going to play their best game. We know they’re going to answer the bell. We have to make sure we do the same.”
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