But the deciding shot was merely the icing on the cake for the surging home team, which relentlessly pressed Anaheim during the course of Game 3.
Well, that's up for debate.
Nashville Predators' Filip Forsberg, center, celebrates his goal against the Anaheim Ducks with teammates Matt Irwin, right, and Viktor Arvidsson during the first period of Game 1 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conferen.
"It's huge. I don't care". "We understand that if you take your foot off the gas, you probably won't like the result".
Nashville also had two more goal shots waved off in one eight-second spell, both denied by goaltender interference.
The Nashville Predators host the Anaheim Ducks in game three of the NHL Western Conference final on May 16 at 8pm EST. John Gibson has given up 34 goals on 382 shots faced and Jonathan Bernier has allowed four goals on 45 shots.
The Predators didn't hold back on star power for the biggest game in franchise history.
Vatanen was not quite so complimentary of his snipe: "I saw he was standing a little bit off the net, and I had a shot there, off the blocker side", said the product of the central Finnish town of Jyvaskyla.
The Predators also have been physical, and defenseman P.K. Subban said he thinks they've been doing a good job so far, particularly Johansen. "It's tough to explain. obviously disappointed personally". The team's committed multiple penalties during the second period, including ones for a fight that broke out between the Preds' Cody McLeod and the Ducks' Jared Boll. But for the first 20 minutes, it was as if the Ducks' skates were stuck in quicksand.
Just when the Ducks appeared to be in serious danger of losing two straight home games to start their second straight series, they made a thrilling surge of four goals in less than 19 minutes.
Once again, the Ducks had dug themselves a hole.
Still, Anaheim is playing with fire if it continues this. But I think the most important thing is how you bounce back from it, because there will be ups and downs, how quickly you can turn the page and focus on the next day and the next game.
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.
So far, the Predators have matched the Ducks almost hit for hit and still have the home-ice advantage in this series. Johansen said he didn't know how anyone could cheer for a guy like that constantly prodding and poking. "I thought we were ready for it".
"He's not my friend, he's not going to be my friend", Kesler said. Ryan has had his share of slumps, even this season, but three of Ryan's five goals this postseason are game-winners - including the overtime goal in Game 1 of the East final to beat Pittsburgh - and he has 11 points in 13 games.
Sami Vatanen, Jacob Silfverberg and Ondrej Kase each had a goal for the Ducks, who wiped out a two-goal deficit to prevail. And they were just getting started.
The Predators took a 2-0 lead when Anaheim goalie John Gibson lost track of the puck and allowed Canadian Neal to get in behind him and score into an empty cage.
Eric Sogard and Orlando Arcia hit back-to-back homers in the sixth off Matt Harvey, spoiling the choppy return of the New York Mets' starter from a three-game suspension in the Milwaukee Brewers' 7-4 win on Friday night.
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