The Anaheim Ducks aren't known as a team that particularly enjoys playing within the rules, and while this could partially be a tactic to draw penalties in order to get their elite power play on the ice, it's mainly a black mark on the sport.
When the horn sounded to end the second period last night, it was 3-0 Nashville, and the Ducks were clearly restless - Corey Perry skated over to Pekka Rinne, who had no skater on either team anywhere around him, and began to push, shove, and otherwise disturb Nashville's all-world netminder. Shea Weber immediately diffused the situation, but it was a harbinger of things to come.
Mike Fisher scored not a minute into the third, and the wheels came off Anaheim's bus. Various folks on Twitter speculated that the Ducks would begin trying to "send a message" in advance of Game 2, and that'd prove to be correct.
Corey Perry leads the NHL in goaltender interference penalties with 5, and in reality, he probably deserves many more than that. It was no surprise, then, that he was consistently trying (and failing) to throw Rinne off his game.
At 10:28 of the third, Kevin Klein reached the end of his rope after Perry took one or ten too many whacks at Rinne well after the play ended. Both Klein and Shane O`Brien went after Perry behind the net, but it was Klein who threw off the gloves and delivered several solid punches to one of the NHL's most skilled morons.
Klein received a double minor for roughing, and the truth is that the action wasn't what you'd call completely clean. The Predators, though, have been pushed around far too easily during their playoff history, and against a team who is far too insistent upon "sending a message" and taking liberties with relatively defenseless players like Sergei Kostitsyn and Pekka Rinne instead of O'Brien or Shea Weber, Klein's penalties were a sight for sore eyes.
It was only game one, but the fact that Nashville sent a message on both the scoreboard and in the physical fortitude department could speak volumes as the series develops. The Ducks tried to get in the Predators' heads, and they failed.
At 20:00 of the third, Sheldon Brookbank received a 10 minute misconduct and 2 minutes for roughing.
He was going after Kevin Klein.