Here are three things to watch as the Predators prepare for Game 1 of the Western Conference final against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday (8 p.m., NBC SN/102.5-FM):
Revenge best served cold: The Ducks had lost five consecutive Game 7s before they defeated the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, tied for the longest Game 7 losing streak in NHL history. With that particular nuisance out of the way, Anaheim will now attempt to clear another postseason hurdle. In two previous playoff meetings, the Predators twice eliminated the Ducks, most recently in a seven-game series last season. How much of a role could the Ducks' revenge factor play with a Stanley Cup final appearance at stake?
Professional pest: Ducks center Ryan Kesler has previously tormented the Predators in the playoffs, totaling 11 points in six second-round games with the Vancouver Canucks in 2011. He anchors one of the NHL's most effective shutdown lines with forwards Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg. The Predators' top forward line of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson should see a lot of those three, and Kesler will do his best to agitate them in multiple ways.
Road warriors: The Predators have shown no hesitation in starting their prior playoff series on the road, winning Game 1 in Chicago and St. Louis. Nashville has won three of four playoff series as the lower-seeded team under coach Peter Laviolette. "The pressure's on (the home team) right away," Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "You know you've got the home-ice games, you've got to win right away. When you start on the road, it's more of, 'Hey, we've got two games here. If we pull one, it's great.'"
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