Predators take 2-1 series lead over Ducks

Danny Woods
May 19, 2017

But thanks to some spotty goaltending, a wild second period and another timely goal from Nick Ritchie, the Ducks defeated the Predators 5-3 at the Honda Center and head to Nashville tied 1-1 in the best-of seven Western Conference final.

Johansen drew assists on the first two goals in Game 1, a 3-2 overtime win for the Predators, and has 13 points in their 12 playoff games.

Ryan Kesler #17 of the Anaheim Ducks checks Viktor Arvidsson #38 of the Nashville Predators to the ice in the first period of Sunday's Game 2.

Neal scored 9:24 into OT, Pekka Rinne made 27 saves and the Predators kicked off their first appearance in the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. Game 3 and Game 4 are Tuesday and Thursday at Bridgestone Arena. Jason came off stage, we were all backstage...me, him, Kane (Brown), a big group of people all watching the Preds game, when they took game one from Anaheim. "Our fans, I really didn't think they could bring it to a new level, but I really thought they did tonight".

Both the Anaheim Ducks and their fans showed up late for the start of the National Hockey League's Western Conference finals.

Ritchie, the power forward making his first career playoff run, scored the winning goal in Game 7 against Edmonton. The fourth draw resulted in an Anaheim empty-net goal just nine seconds later.

Again, though, the story isn't necessarily about how the Ducks came back to tie and ultimately win the game 5-3, but about Nashville's inability to control the puck when it needed to.

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"Whoever was in, we had a ton of confidence in", captain Sidney Crosby said.

Welcome to the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, in which the Anaheim Ducks have proven to be kings of the comeback.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle has made in-game adjustments with his line, with them often paying off. The Ducks had less shots on goal but were able to make more goals on less shots. The Predators were rolling early, grabbing a 2-0 lead just 8:32 into the game on a breakaway goal from Johansen and a goal from James Neal against equally suspect goaltender John Gibson, who lost sight of the puck and was way out of position, allowing Neal time to tuck it into a wide open net.

Add in a dose of heavy physicality, more so than we saw in Game 1, and the Predators were effectively drawn off the style of game that they prefer to play into an environment that the Ducks excel in.

There haven't been many times during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs when things have looked bleak for the Nashville Predators at home, but forward Filip Forsberg has been there to help save the day when they have.

"The penalty at the end of the first changed the game, changed the momentum", Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. Forsberg scored to give Nashville the lead back at the eight-minute mark, but Ondrej Kase tied the game back up less than three minutes later. The goal ended an 0-20 power play drought for the Ducks.

"I don't know if it hit the goalie or the player that was laying in front still", Neal said. "They're not going to give you anything but we worked hard to get our chances and we've got to bury them when we get them". And they got one last chance thanks to a high-sticking call late.

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