Late goal gives Predators 2-1 series lead over Ducks

Posted May 19, 2017

One game in and the Senators have done to the Penguins what Washington and Columbus could not: grab control of the series. And besides, Anaheim had lost the opening two games at home against the Edmonton Oilers in the previous round and still went on to win that series in seven games. According to Sportsnet Stats, the team had won all seven games in which he registered a point at home in the postseason.

Well, that's up for debate.

Nashville captured Game 1 with a 3-2 overtime victory on James Neal's goal.

The Predators allowed more than three goals in this postseason for the first time in Sunday's 5-3 setback but can take solace in the fact that the next two games are at Bridgestone Arena, where they have won nine in a row in the playoffs since back-to-back defeats against Anaheim a year ago.

"It's huge. I don't care". It helps us so much, especially with those two goals.

It's one of hockey's Original Six clichés for goal-scorers, who get as much credit for the pucks that go in off the back of their trousers as the ones they snipe top shelf.

Nashville also had two more goal shots waved off in one eight-second spell, both denied by goaltender interference.

Pekka Rinne had his first poor game in net in the playoffs.

A late push by the Predators was ultimately thwarted by John Gibson and the Ducks very strong defensive play. "A few of the goals they crashed the net - good plays - but they just ended up going in. Obviously, disappointed personally in that second period".

At that point, this became a game the Ducks could legitimately win, but it didn't play out that way. But for the first 20 minutes, it was as if the Ducks' skates were stuck in quicksand.

Vatanen finally converted for Anaheim, doing so in the first period after the Predators jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.

Until, that is, Finnish defenceman Sami Vatanen wired a slapper far side on Rinne, breathing life into the Ducks with exactly one minute left in what had been a moribund first period for Anaheim.

Once again, the Ducks had dug themselves a hole.

"You know, you think you're playing a good game". With the 35th goal of his playoff career, RW Corey Perry tied Teemu Selanne (35) for second on the all-time franchise postseason goals list, two behind Ryan Getzlaf. The result? The pace quickened, the entries eased, Kase scored his first goal since February 22 and Ritchie netted the game-winning goal. "Predators" already robbed "of Anaheim" home ice advantage, and now took home the match and was halfway from the historic hit in the Stanley Cup finals.

"It just blows my mind", Johansen said. His family and friends watching him play, I don't know how you can cheer for a guy like that. The Predators are averaging 2.9 goals per game and are scoring on 18.9 percent of their power play opportunities. There's a real good chance he does so, but it won't be because Johansen isn't willing to go up against Kesler.

Forsberg tied it up with his third goal in as many games.

Josi's goal was set up by a bad penalty by the Ducks' Chris Wagner for high-sticking Ellis with 3:55 left. I saw him on his back five, six times and he stood in and made the saves he's supposed to, and some that he shouldn't.

Anaheim, which had trailed 2-0 and then 3-2 after Filip Forsberg's goal, scored three straight to take a 5-3 lead. "They were confident", Predators head coach Peter Laviolette said afterwards.