There’s one more game left in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Nashville Predators will visit the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night (10 PM ET, NBCSN) for Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal; Nashville extended the series Monday with a 3-1 victory, as Pekka Rinne made 26 of 27 saves for the Preds.
The Ducks (46-25-11 during the regular season) were expected to make short work of Nashville (41-27-14) after winning their fourth straight Pacific Division title, all under head coach Bruce Boudreau. Anaheim was available at +800 on the Stanley Cup futures market going into the playoffs, compared to +2500 for the Predators. But Nashville has knotted this series despite getting outscored 17-12.
The Preds might have already eliminated Anaheim had forward Craig Smith (21 goals, 37 points) not gotten injured early in Game 3, after Nashville won the first two games at the Honda Center. Smith returned Monday and played right wing on the second line with Calle Jarnkrok (16 goals, 30 points) on the left and Mike Ribeiro (seven goals, 50 points) in the middle; Smith also took his usual turn on the power play, logging 14:23 of total ice time.