Don't lie. I think it is safe to say that a good chunk of Preds' fans had at least a thought about dropping Game 3, or coming out of the gates somewhat flat, and that is exactly what happened on Tuesday night.
If you look at the shots on goal count things looked good for Nashville. The Preds out shot the Ducks 26-21 for the contest in all situations.They also out Corsi'd the Ducks at even strength by a count of 35-33, but, in case you missed it, the Ducks scored three goals and the Predators scored zero.
Sure the Predators had 22 scoring chances while the Ducks had only 21, but Anaheim managed to create nine high-danger scoring chances while Nashville managed only five in all situations. That's not a good number seeing how the Predators had five power play chances and the Ducks had only two.
Before the game got going, catfish happened of course.
The scoring got going, and not by the good guys, with 9:05 left in the first period.
Anthony Bitetto started the scoring play with a brutal turnover as he was peddling backwards away from the pressure but he went ahead and gave the puck away to Chris Stewart. Stewart then found Shawn Horcoff who then delivered a great pass to Jamie McGinn for the one-timer. And no, Pekka Rinne is not supposed to make that save.
McGinn goal pic.twitter.com/Zrm5X2D9qf— Stephanie (@myregularface) April 20, 2016
As we push to the second frame, Filip Forsberg did a Filip Forsberg thing as he drew a penalty from McGinn at the 12:04 mark.
The Preds, obviously, were unable to make anything happen on the power play chance.
Three minutes and thirty-seven seconds later, the Ducks doubled their lead thanks to a brilliant Rickard Rakell tip in front of the net. Corey Perry passed the puck to Sami Vatanen who fired it in the vicinity of the net, but this play was all Rakell. Vatanen's shot was going at least two and a half feet wide, but Rakell changed that real quick with the in between the legs move.
And, again, you can't blame Rinne for letting this puck by him. This was a nasty, nasty goal. #Turnt as we like to call it.
Rakell goal pic.twitter.com/IOPus6CvuQ— Stephanie (@myregularface) April 20, 2016
With 2:54 left in the second period the Ducks scored the final goal of the night to go up 3-0 over the Preds.
There isn't too much to say about this one. It was a good effort from Nashville to close in on Ryan Getzlaf as he crossed the blue line, but Stewart was left in a high-danger area all alone after Getzlaf pushed the puck towards the wall.
A strong first save by Rinne, but he couldn't repeat as Stewart lit the lamp on the second effort.
Chris Stewart goal pic.twitter.com/cycRc86HjE— Stephanie (@myregularface) April 20, 2016
We get all the way through this story and there's no sign of Ryan Kesler? Think again.
The Predators went to the power play early in the third period, and the former Canuck suddenly forgot how to buckle his helmet. It was fine though as the referees allowed him to work on his lid for about 45 seconds on the ice.
Mattias Ekholm, Viktor Arvidsson, Colin Wilson, James Neal and Forsberg each led the way with one individual scoring chance a piece. A key difference maker between Game 2 and Game 3? Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi sat in the basement in the Corsi For department at even strength with a 0 and 1, respectively. They were a 15 and 10, respectively in Game 2.
Let's not forget that the Predators lead this series 2-1 and have erased any type of home ice advantage the Ducks had, but this series became a different monster on Tuesday night after the Nashville loss.
Development: Craig Smith skated just 1:05 in the loss on Tuesday after suffering a lower-body injury. There is no update on the forward as of now, but this awkward move in the opening seconds of the game doesn't look great.