Wednesday, April 20, 2011

To Dive or Not To Dive, That is the Question: Preds - Ducks Game 4

There is nothing worse than two Stanley Cup playoff teams with too much time on their hands between games. We can place all the blame for all the foolishness in the last 48 hours directly on Lady Gaga for scheduling her circus act right during the middle of a torrid, emotion driven playoff series between the Nashville Predators (2-1) and the Anaheim Ducks (1-2).

Immediately after Sunday's game three, when the Preds beat the Ducks 4-3, Teemu Selanne lashed out at his teammates and to the press that the Ducks "had no business (being) in this game." He had scored two goals, thirty seconds apart, and felt that he was going it alone I assume.

Then on Monday, when neither team practiced, the normally fairly level headed Ducks G.M. Bob Murray lashed out that the Predators were a bunch of divers and was looking for more dives from the Ducks to up their power play opportunities. I assume he realizes what a distinct disadvantage his team has in five on five play.

Predator fans were furious at the allegations. Barry Trotz said "it was disrespectful to the players in the league" and refused to comment further. Yesterday, the Orange County Register posted a video of Jerred Smithson getting pummeled by a phantom stick in game two that added even more intrigue to all the allegations.

So all that leads us to today when we actually have a game on the schedule for tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena when the players can settle their differences on the ice instead of letting all the verbal barrage flow from the sidelines.

This is a huge game for both teams as the winner will have momentum when the two teams flay back to Anaheim for Friday's game five. If the Predators win, they will be able to clinch with a singe victory over the last three games. If Anaheim wins, it's a new best of three series with Ducks having a decided home ice advantage.

The first three games have been high scoring affairs with four goals being the magic number required to win each game. Mike Fisher has 3 goals and 2 assists for the Preds while Teemu Selanne has four gals and Corey Perry has a goal and four assists for the Ducks.

The Predators will send Pekka Rinne (2-1-0, 2.70, .887) back into battle while the Ducks most assuredly will go with Ray Emery (1-1-0, 3.02, .909). Jonas Hiller was actually sent back to California, leaving Dan Ellis (0-1-0, 5.85, .933) as the back-up.

Another sell out crowd is expected at the Bridgestone Arena and they will be challenged to match the noise and intensity level of Sunday's game. Fans should arrive early, be ready to go with the opening puck drop, and bring plenty of catfish.

Other previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Robby Stanley, Chris Burton, Paul McCannThe Tennessean, and

Previews from the Southland come from from The OC Register, Long Beach Press Telegram, L A Times, Ducks Blog, Quackalakin', Anaheim Calling, Battle of California, Ducks and Cover, Ducks Daily Blog, and Ducks and Pucks.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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