NBC Wednesday Rivalry Night, step aside. Blood will boil tonight instead.
Since 2011, the Predators have played the Anaheim Ducks in three separate playoff series, including two straight seasons. None of these series has gone fewer than six games and the Predators have won every single series. Not one of these series can be claimed to have been “clean”, but when one team fields Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler, what else would you expect?
Furthermore, you also have captain Ryan Getzlaf who, after Andrew Shaw was suspended for a game the previous year, escaped using a gay slur towards the Predators with just a slap on the wrist. Instead of being suspended like Shaw was, he was fined $10,000, which Anaheim fans raised money for to pay themselves. Then, when he spoke with the You Can Play representatves, he still refused to man up and actually apologize.
Oh, and finally, we have the “Battle of the Ryans” as Ryan Johansen looks to get the better of Ryan Kesler once more. Once more, Bobby? I thought that national media told me that Kesler was in Johansen’s head? If you have been with us since during last season’s playoff run, you should be well aware that this narrative is just false and that Ryan Johansen absolutely dominated Kesler’s line.
Ryan Johansen ~obviously~ being outgeneralled by Ryan Kesler. pic.twitter.com/vg9QJ9HJ1o— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) May 17, 2017
Are you psyched to stay up until the wee hours of the morning yet? If not, here’s a little more spice for you (WARNING: Johansen does swear in this video, turn your children away).
"He's just a loser." Ryan Johansen on Ryan Kesler while on Smashville LIVE. Damn! #Preds— Justin Bradford (@justinbbradford) October 26, 2017
If Ryan Johansen still hates the Ducks months later, you should too. Get that coffee brewing for the late night!
The Anaheim Ducks
Alas, role model Ryan Getzlaf was placed on the long-term injured reserve recently, so he will not be making an appearance in tonight’s contest. The Ducks are 6-5-1, sitting at 6th in the Pacific Division. The same suspects are back: Perry, Kesler, Jakub Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell are all forces to deal with. They also return a collection of stellar shut-down defensemen who will make playing in the offensive zone a nightmare for the Predators.
Okay, I don’t want to talk the Ducks up anymore, it makes me feel dirty. Accordingly, here are some examples of them being pests.
Ryan Kesler also played for the Ohio State University. Although I live with the eternal shame of attending the same university as him for law school, you all probably can hate him more for being a Buckeye.
No penalty on the play.
No suspension here. How about them starting a fight when they have six guys to Nashville’s five? That’s “proper hockey ettiquite”, right?
Dear God do I hate the Anaheim Ducks.
The Nashville Predators
The good guys are coming off of an abysmal road performance against the San Jose Sharks, but that statement has held true over the last twenty years. Ryan Johansen had one of his worst games in a while; missing on a clear breakaway, delivering a high hit that he’s probably lucky not to be suspended for, and then was later baited into fighting Joe Pavelski while down two goals. Roman Josi had the goal of his career after dangling through some Sharks and sniping the puck top corner from his backhand, but outside of him and P.K. Subban, not many Predators had a good night.
Samuel Girard managed to play well again, meaning the Predators have some decisions to make about his future soon. He is clearly the fourth best defenseman on the Predators’ active roster now behind Josi, Subban, and Mattias Ekholm, yet Head Coach Peter Laviolette still has been cautious in deploying Girard. Hopefully Girard gets some ice time tonight against Anaheim.
Anyways, here are some extremely satisfying clips.
James Neal shoots it off Corey Perry and in for the game-winning goal in OT pic.twitter.com/Rl11pg3puL— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 13, 2017
If scoring a game winning goal could get any better, doing it while hitting Corey Perry in the face would have to be it.
Oh how sweet it was. Have I mentioned that I hate the Ducks yet?
Reasons to Watch
- It’s Preds-Ducks. Like I said, it won’t get the credit that it deserves, but this is a top-three rivalry in hockey today, right up there with Penguins-Capitals and Auston Matthews-whoever the NHL wants to fabricate a rivalry with.
- You may get to see Corey Perry get checked. That’s time well spent.
- Filip Forsberg has been on a tear. He is making excellent plays and all of the JOFA line is playing pretty well.
- The exception to the JOFA line all playing well is Johansen, coming off a bad game against the Sharks. He should have no lack of motivation for tonight, because...
- ...the best player-player rivalry in hockey is Kesler-Johansen. Do any two guys hate each other as much as these two? The NHL has marketed Crosby-Ovechkin for years and, per the All-Star game, the two are clearly buds. McDavid, Laine, Eichel, and Matthews have all been used by the NHL to create “rivalries”, but none of these players hate each other. They’re just all good, young, talented players. Johansen and Kesler? They hate each other. Ever have bad blood in a beer league game? That’s exactly what’s going on with these two.
Sights and Sounds
Get your coffee brewing and your Baliey’s purchased, puck drop is at 9:00pm central time. You can catch the game on Fox Sports South or through the radio at 102.5 The Game.