Ducks' John Gibson great but Nashville is for real

27 Mai, 2017, 15:20 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier

Defensively, the Nashville Predators are allowing 2.7 goals per game and are killing 80.9 percent of their opponents power plays.

ABOUT THE PREDATORS: A game within the game is developing between Nashville's Ryan Johansen and Anaheim's Ryan Kesler, with the Predators' top line center bristling at what he considers suspect tactics by his counterpart.

The Ducks finally awakened at the prospect of their second straight 0-2 series deficit and replied with high-octane hockey - and a few fortunate bounces - that was too much even for Rinne, who hadn't given up four goals in a game since March 13.

Ritchie, with an assist from Getzlaf, lifted the Ducks to a 4-3 lead by scoring with 2:53 remaining in the second. The lone goal held up for nearly 40 minutes, when Evgeni Malkin scored at 14:25 of the third to tie the game. Filip Forsberg leads Nashville with five goals, Roman Josi has five assists and James Neal has 38 shots on goal.

After the Ducks took consecutive delay-of-game penalties moments later for putting the puck in the stands, Gibson and his shot-blockers were outstanding while Anaheim survived 1:28 with a 5-on-3 disadvantage. Considering Corey Perry's notorious crease-crashing tendencies, Pekka Rinne may also want to be alert.

Monday when the Predators returned to Nashville, head coach Peter Laviolette was repeatedly asked about Johansen's comments, what was happening on the ice, and what would happen, but he was only interested in talking about one thing- how well Johansen has played.

Add in a dose of heavy physicality, more so than we saw in Game 1, and the Predators were effectively drawn off the style of game that they prefer to play into an environment that the Ducks excel in.

"I wish we didn't get down in the first place, but I think we have three or four lines that get going and just keep punching through", Ducks forward Rickard Rakell said.

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Pittsburgh has had a distinct problem moving the puck out of their own zone in their last three games going back to the second round series against Washington, and it coincides with the injury to Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley, which leaves them without arguably their top two puck moving blue liners in addition to the already sidelined Kris Letang. He led the tournament with a.955 save percentage in seven games, surrendering just five even-strength goals in that time.

But his team continued to press into the third and was rewarded when Forsberg converted the rebound of a shot by Ryan Ellis.

"I don't think you can put it any other way: We need to emotionally get ourselves involved in the game right away", Cogliano said. "It just doesn't make sense how he plays the game", he told the media. Prior to Sunday, Rinne had never allowed more than three goals in any game this postseason and had only allowed 16 goals in his first 11 games. And they got one last chance thanks to a high-sticking call late.

"I don't know if it hit the goalie or the player that was laying in front still", Neal said.

"Nick Ritchie said goal", he explained, "and I started celebrating". The Subban deal has worked out just as well, with the defenceman scoring 10 goals and 40 points in 66 games this season, while assuming a shutdown role in the playoffs.

"Starts in the playoffs are huge", Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler said.

Just as it was after Game 1, small corrections for Nashville will determine the outcome of Game 3.

For better or worse, Kesler's attempt to get under the Predators' collective skin so far has been a success.


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