This game started off with several bangs. First, Austin Watson deflected home the first goal of the game to make it 1-0 barely a minute into the game. Bridgestone Arena erupted. Then a few minutes later, Colton Sissons buried one from the slot. 2-0 Preds and the place exploded again.
But what would this series be without a little Ducks Hockey™? Nick Ritchie boarded Viktor Arvidsson and got himself the rest of the night off. Arvy would return to the game, but unfortunately he didn’t bring any offense with him. The Preds managed zero shots on the ensuing five minute major. The Ducks ended the period with a 12-4 shot advantage, but the Preds led the game 2-0.
Things went south in the 2nd. While the Ducks continued to pile on shots, the Preds couldn’t muster any offensive attack. Eventually, after a long first five minutes of the period, Ondrej Kase scores to get the Ducks on the board.
The Ducks dictated every aspect of the game. They pushed the pace into the Nashville zone, clogged up the neutral zone, and tired out the Preds so when they finally got the puck out, they could only dump and change. It was really frustrating to watch.
It was still a 2-1 lead for Nashville going into the 3rd.
The 3rd period was one of the most painful experiences of all time for the first 10 minutes. The Preds looked perfectly willing to turtle for the entire period—icing the puck, dumping in for line changes, virtually no breakout to speak of. Then, when Pontus Aberg scored to make it 3-1, the Ducks came right back and scored to make it 3-2.
More Ducks pressure led to another Ducks goal. Cam Fowler scored from the point and it was a tie game. Things were looking grim. We all began to wonder if the Preds had let a huge opportunity slip them by.
But then things changed.
Sissons scored. And it was 4-3.
Then Forsberg made a 170 foot empty net goal. 5-3, now.
Watson scored another. 6-3.
Pandemonium. Chaos. Bedlam. And a banner.
And so the Predators are the Western Conference Champions. That feels incredible.
- Same lines tonight? Yep, same lines tonight.
- Holy hell is it loud. After Trisha Yearwood sang the song, Eddie George came out and waved a towel around. Crowd went nuts. BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE. Ryan Johansen and Kevin Fiala waved some more towels around. And it got so freaking loud, y’all.
- OH MY GOSH. Watty tipped home a shot and it’s 1-0!! Unbelievable aghhhhh this place just exploded!
- AND AGAIN. Colton Sissons rips one from the slot and it’s 2-0. FEELING IT. And this place just exploded again!
- I have no idea what to expect from here on out, but that was a hell of a start.
- Lots of things just happened. First, Arvidsson got boarded hard and Ritchie will sit for the rest of the game because of it. On the Preds ensuing 5 minute major power play? Zero shots for the Preds, two for the Ducks. Oh my, what could have been...
- The Ducks are coming out like they aren’t done yet. And since they have 4 comebacks already in these playoffs, they certainly aren’t. Preds better start moving the other way.
- And the Ducks score. It’s 2-1 now and things aren’t looking so hot on the ice.
- Predators just can’t get any sustained possession in the offensive zone. I feel like I’ve said that many times in this series.
- Who turned off the offense?
- 6 shots in the first 30 minutes ain’t gonna cut it.
- This is the part of the recap where I say “Hey the Preds finally got something going” but except for a couple late almost chances, that ain’t the case. ALL Ducks in this one, except for the scoreboard.
- This is going to be the most awful 20 minutes
- PREDS SCORE!!!!!! Somehow Pontus Aberg stuffed away at the puck and it looked like Sissons got the goal. (they gave it to Pontus) My oh my what a huge goal that was
- Shishkebabs. The Ducks get it right back. Wagner off Rinne’s noggin.
- Oh no. The Ducks have tied it. Fowler scores.
- This is turning sour quickly. Ducks have a power play now.
- Oh man, another puck goes over the boards and nearly leads to another penalty (replay shows it hit the glass)
- It’s a 4-3 hockey game!
- I can’t believe that goal. Janrkrok with an unbelievable pass to Sissons, who buries it.
- Oh my god. They did it.
OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Pekka Rinne: Unbelievable night from this guy. 39 saves. Are you serious, 39 saves?
- Colton Sissons: a freaking hat trick, are you kidding me? This guy was in Milwaukee last year.
- Austin Watson: throwing shoulders, blocking shots, and scoring goals.
Tweets of the Night
This is not the first time the Predators have grabbed a 2-0 lead early in this series.— Jim Diamond (@diamondhockey) May 23, 2017
Can you win a game with less than 10 shots? Stay tuned to find out— JZ (@notjasonzito) May 23, 2017