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Nashville Predators 3, Anaheim Ducks 5: Preds Fall Short Against Ducks’ Physicality

An exhausted Anaheim team managed to muscle their way past Nashville to tie the series 1-1.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Predators came out of the gate ready to win a hockey game Sunday night. Ryan Johansen got the party started for Nashville with a break away goal early in the first period off a beautiful backhanded pass from Viktor Arvidsson. James Neal would follow it up with a power play goal only minutes later. Anaheim looked sluggish and unorganized. They’re really showing just how much of a toll only a day off between series has taken on them.

The Predators would dominate most of the first period, but a quick penalty against Matt Irwin towards the end gave the Ducks their first power play of the night. Sami Vatanen would take a sharp angle and net one just past Pekka Rinne to get the Ducks on the board to end the first.

After playing much of the first period flat, Jakob Silfverberg came out ready in the second and tied the game up less than a minute into play. The Honda Center comes alive once again.

Half-way through the second and the Preds found their momentum and started putting some serious pressure on the Ducks. Pressure that would pay off in the form of a goal from Filip Forsberg to put the Preds back in the lead 3-2. Arvidsson is a passing, machine tonight. He pulled the ol’ fake shot pass, and the Duck’s fell for it for the second time in two games.

Just when we thought the good guys were going to keep the lead the Ducks come back with a garbage goal from Ondrej Kase that Rinne just couldn’t control. Goaltending was not stellar for either team tonight. Nick Ritchie would give the Ducks the tie-breaking goal and the Duck’s first lead of the hockey game. This is probably the worst we’ve seen Rinne all post-season. Tonight was just not his night.

Ryan Kesler would head to the box in the first minute of the third giving the Preds another power play for the night. Nashville wouldn’t be able to capitalize and the battle waged on. The Ducks had the edge over the Preds for most of the third period and Nashville looked exhausted. Anaheim’s physicality was definitely getting the best of them tonight.

Nashville managed to find their game late in the third and just hammered John Gibson with shots forcing Anaheim to ice the puck more than they probably would have liked. Preds went for the empty-net in favor of the extra attacker with a little more than two minutes left and unfortunately the Ducks would seal the deal with the empty net goal and tie the series 1-1.

The boys come home on Tuesday, and the Ducks will have to face the Preds in the loudest arena in the NHL. Rest up, this series is far from over.

Random Observations

  • Whoever snuck that catfish into the Honda Center is my hero, but also where were you hiding that behemoth?
  • RyJo isn’t here for your garbage tonight little Duckies! Preds up 1-0 early in the first.
  • Props to Arvy as well, that was some backhand pass to Joey.
  • Preds get the first PP of the night.
  • Holy Catfish!! James Neal with the PP goal and the Preds are up 2-0 and it’s not even the half way point in the first here folks!
  • Preds going back on the PP. Get in the box Perry, it’s where you belong.
  • “The Predators have done an excellent job quieting crowds during these playoffs.” So it’s not just traffic after all.
  • Pontus Aberg was this close to squeaking one right past Gibson.
  • With a little over three minutes left in the first period, Pekka has only faced three shots. Three.
  • That was a questionable penalty, but the Preds are heading on the penalty kill. Hold on to your butts.
  • That was a crazy angle, can’t fault Pekka for that one. But alas, the Honda Center lives.
  • Second period. Let’s. Do. This.
  • Welp, swear words, that wasn’t it. Jakob Silfverberg with his second goal of the series, ties it up.
  • Poor Wilson hits the goal post.
  • I don’t know what switch the Preds just flipped but they are putting some pressure on the Ducks right now. More of this, lots more of this!
  • “The Ducks have gotten back into this game with their physicality” The Ducks also lost round one last year when their physicality backfired.
  • Arvy and Forsberg just wrecked John Gibson.
  • And somehow we’re tied again. This game is strange, hockey is strange, this sport is ruining my life.
  • The Ducks pull ahead, and as much as I hate to admit it, tonight is not Pekka’s night.
  • Good guys to the PP early in the third here. Tie this game right now!
  • That’s the Pekka we know! Hell of a save from the big guy right there.
  • Gibson was just flopping all over the place and I have no idea how the Preds didn’t score there. Unbelievable.
  • Empty-net goal for the Ducks seals the deal. Welp, that wasn’t great, but it could have been much worse.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Ryan Johansen: He got the scoring going for the Preds tonight and never backed down or let the likes of Ryan Kessler intimidate him.
  2. Viktor Arvidsson: He had assists on Johansen’s and Forsberg’s goal. Beautiful passing and set-ups from Arvy.
  3. James Neal: He’s found some scoring momentum during this series and the team is going to need it to make it through the rest of this series.

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras