Sport

Predators rally, beat Ducks to take 2-1 Western finals lead

Predators rally, beat Ducks to take 2-1 Western finals lead

Again, though, the story isn't necessarily about how the Ducks came back to tie and ultimately win the game 5-3, but about Nashville's inability to control the puck when it needed to.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - A few moments after James Neal crumpled Anaheim's Brandon Montour with a vicious check, the Nashville forward took a pass from P.K. Subban and ripped a shot past three Ducks for the winning overtime goal.

Sweden's Jakob Silfverberg, Sami Vatanen, Ondrej Kase and Antoine Vermette, into an empty net, also scored for the Ducks, who avoided going into an 0-2 hole for the second straight series with the win.

Nashville took a 1-0 lead at 4:18 in the first period when Viktor Arvidsson sprung Ryan Johansen on a breakaway.

Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell (67), of Sweden, and Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) battle for the puck in front of Anaheim goalie John Gibson, left, during the second period in Game 3 of the Western Confere.

Rather than balking at the challenge, the Nashville Predators responded to a 1-0 deficit and a great John Gibson performance by just imposing their will in an eventual 2-1 Game 3 win.

Nick Ritchie's tiebreaking goal at 17:07 of the second period was a wrister from the left faceoff circle that flew over Rinne's blocker into the net's roof. Two of his three goals in the playoffs have been game-winners. His shot was kicked away by Gibson, but Forsberg was right there on the rebound for his sixth goal of the postseason to equalize things less than 4:00 into the third.

The Nashville netminder had a rough outing in Game 2, surrendering four goals on Anaheim's first 16 shots through two periods. And I think we've been doing that.

"I just lost sight of it for a second", said Gibson, who says little when he plays well, and even less the rest of the time. Jason came off stage, we were all backstage...me, him, Kane (Brown), a big group of people all watching the Preds game, when they took game one from Anaheim.

Otherwise, these Penguins could turn into mice and continue to get caught in the Senators' trap.

Game three is Thursday night. "I think he's playing well today, too".

We're willing to bet those weren't the first or last tall boys the guys put down on Tuesday night. "All night, we had a lot of chances and we didn't give them a lot".

But Rinne and his teammates should get a boost from returning to Bridgestone Arena, where they have won all five postseason games this spring by a combined score of 15-6. After the game, he said he just has to focus on his game.

Even in uncharted territory for this franchise, the Predators are still rolling through the Stanley Cup playoffs with their distinct combination of smash and flash.

"We believe that we can go in any building and play with the teams that we're up against and give ourselves a chance for success", Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "They played hard at our net, bumping our goalie all night long, and we didn't do a good enough job getting inside". Ron Hainsey hit the crossbar early and Patric Hornqvist dinged the left post but that's as close as Pittsburgh would get to slipping one by Anderson. J.G. Pageau scored at 14:32 of the first for Ottawa. "They found a way to claw back", said forward Johansen. Nashville RW Craig Smith missed his third straight game due to an undisclosed injury. They're a good team. I saw him on his back five, six times and he stood in and made the saves he's supposed to, and some that he shouldn't.


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