Ducks vs. Predators: Key matchups in NHL playoff series

Keys to the first-round playoff series between the Anaheim Ducks and the Nashville Predators:

1. Center matchup: Nashville is one of the few teams that can match the Ducks down the middle. Ryan Johansen, Mike Ribeiro, Mike Fisher and Paul Gaustad will go up against Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Rickard Rakell and Nate Thompson.

2. Shea Weber and Roman Josi: The Predators defensemen were two of their top five scorers in the regular season, with both exceeding 50 points. The Ducks have to limit how much they control the game from the back end. Weber won the NHL’s hardest shot competition again this year with a 108.1 mph blast.

3. Goaltending. The pressure is on Nashville’s Pekka Rinne to be the type of goalie that can carry a team deep into the playoffs. He is 15-19 in the postseason with one shutout. The Ducks need their duo of John Gibson and Frederik Andersen to carry over their fine regular seasons against the Predators, who are better offensively than years past.


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