Nashville Predators 3, Anaheim Ducks 2: Smith, Rinne Help Build 2-0 Lead In Series

Back-to-back 3-2 wins over the Ducks leads to a 2-0 series lead. The Predators will head back home with confidence and some humongous smiles on their faces.

The Predators leave California with a 2-0 lead in the series after another 3-2 win over the Ducks tonight. Holy. Mackerel.

Nashville rolled out the same lines as Game 1, for good reason. Anaheim had one new face: Kevin Bieksa returned from injury to replace the injured Josh Manson. The first period was pretty rowdy. Very physical play, several penalties, and a good amount of post-whistle conferences. After the Ducks went up 1-0, the Preds tied it up before the first intermission. Though the Ducks dominated most of the play in the 1st, the Preds fought back to tie it up. They did miss out on some power-play chances, but they were probably fine taking a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes.

Then came the 2nd period. The Predators frustrated the Ducks enough to bait them into some bad penalties, while also getting two goals. Shea Weber's power-play goal with less than a minute left in the period was a huge goal to take momentum into the locker room.

The final period was a nail-biter, but the Predators were able to do the same thing they did Friday night: frustrate the Ducks defense and shut them down in their offensive zone. Though the Ducks got the game within 1 goal on a deflection off a Preds' skate, it didn't matter. The Preds held. Win secured.

Mattias Ekholm, Craig Smith, and Shea Weber scored for the Predators. Andrew Cogliano and Nate Thompson scored for the Ducks. Pekka Rinne finished with 26 saves, while John Gibson had 24.

The Predators are on a gravy train with biscuit wheels, dudes.

Random Observations

  • The first Game 2 is off to a very physical start. Anaheim has managed to generate several early chances, but the Preds have been able to knock them off the puck at just the right moment. There was a Forsberg butt check sighting. Corey Perry speared Arvidsson, but no call.
  • Predators have two power-plays in the 1st and can't capitalize on either one. Hope that doesn't hurt them later, though it's hard to see how it won't. Side bar: Josi is called for embellishment after a called hook. Why does this continue to happen? Why are you calling embellishment, where a player embellishes a penalty where there wasn't one, when you are also calling a penalty on that play? Someone at the NHL competition committee, PLEASE sign up for a basic Logic & Reasoning course, where you will learn complicated concepts like "cause and effect."
  • Cogliano's goal is a good example of what the Ducks are doing differently in this game. Tons of pressure on the defense, especially at the blue-line. Weber's shot is blocked by Cogliano, who was crashing to the blue-line like a mad man, creating a breakaway and the score. The Ducks clearly want to pressure the defense. I'm fine with this. Pinch up on the defense as much as you like, Ducks. It should create some chances down low for our forwards, who are just as capable of scoring as our defense.
  • MATTY ECK! Wow. Colin Wilson with an absolutely filthy move on the boards to get around three Ducks. Wilson somehow got the puck to Ekholm, but I don't really know how. Then Ekholm's backhand shot clanks by Gibson and ties it up. That was incredible. There was almost no room to move in that corner, but those two just made it happen.
  • Predators keep the momentum going into the 2nd period. The flow of the game suggests that the Preds could take it over if they get a timely goal here. The Ducks came out with a ton of energy, but they seem a bit skittish since the Ekholm goal.
  • Craig. Smith. Makes it happen. Forsberg found him in the slot and he roofed it by Gibson. That, my friends, was a huge goal.
  • Wilson getting switched to the top line with Joey and Neal, just like in Game 1. Very interesting. It's like Lavy has to see what kind of game Wilson is playing and then he can make the switch.
  • Things starting to get REALLY chippy. A fan threw some peanuts on the ice (perhaps in the direction of James Neal), which triggered a series of tussles and angry faces. No actual fights, but a lot of shoving and hits. Might I point out that throwing peanuts on the ice is... odd? Are there a bunch of vaudeville enthusiasts in attendance?
  • Ryan Kesler, awful human being.
  • FINALLY. A pee pee goal. Shea freaking Weber, with his third blast of the power-play, gets it by Gibson.
  • Be real: did you ever in your wildest dreams think that Cody Bass would be playing a significant role on this team in the playoffs?
  • 3rd Period: hold on to your butts.
  • We have turtle-ing going on. This is no way to win playoff games. Though the Preds are doing a very nice job of disrupting the Ducks in the neutral zone. Nothing looks easy for them.
  • Out of nowhere, the Ducks score. Nate Thompson with a really simple backhand that just fluttered by Rinne. Not sure what happened, probably deflected. 3-2, Preds lead down to one. Here we go.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Pekka Rinne: #35 was solid in net. He even looked more confident than he did in Game 1. This could be the start of a great run. Just stay healthy, big guy.
  • Craig Smith: Wicked wrister to get the go-ahead goal. His lin
  • Shea Weber: not once, not twice... but THREE times he had that shot on the PP. He made the third one count. He was a beast tonight. /

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