Game one of the Western Conference final is in the books, and the lower seeded Nashville Predators pulled off a 3-2 overtime victory on the road on Friday night. First came the handling of the West-leading Blackhawks in four games and then a sound thumping of the surprising St. Louis Blues in the second round. Nashville could win the first two and lose the next two. Ovechkin said he felt something in his hamstring late in Game 3 of the second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and needed injections to numb the pain the rest of the way. The Ducks have managed five goals over their last three games.
If Nashville needs to address anything prior to Game 2, they know exactly what it is. The Predators got 11 power-play shots in the game but couldn't get any of them past John Gibson. In the end, rust or not, Rinne and the Predators were too much for the Ducks to handle. After tying it midway through the third, a comeback win could've given the Ducks an emotional boost to play into Game 2 on Sunday.
That contest airs at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
An eighth-place finish during the regular season didn't afford the Predators home-ice advantage, so they've chose to steal it instead. But the Ducks were thoroughly outplayed in Games 1 and 2 at the Honda Center, and it took the miracle comeback of miracle comebacks in Game 5 to get the win.
Trouble seemed to be looming for the Ducks until 13 minutes into the third period, when defenseman Hampus Lindholm sniped a shot past Pekka Rinne to tie the game. Somebody put him out! Still nothing spectacular, but hey, the Ducks are here now and that's all that matters.
Special teams have become a mini-crisis: Randy Carlyle's squad hasn't scored a power play goal in two full weeks. This is a marked improvement over their middle-of-the-pack finish to the regular season.
There have been a few different reasons for Nashville's success this post-season. But it also doesn't have to be.
The home team has won five of the last six meetings.
"We were sort of stuck in that two- and three-goal area and in a very important moment in the third period obviously in an important game, our guys delivered against him, so I think that gives us a boost of confidence". Don't mess with a good thing.
Despite yet another slow start, and an eventual OT loss, the Ducks looked far better in game 1 than I expected they would. The puck glanced off Corey Perry, who was directly in front of Gibson and didn't have a stick either.
The Predators will have to come between Ryan Getzlaf and his date with destiny in order to progress. However on the blue line the team does not have the same level of talent, which is something they need to build on but will take time and patience. The Predators, on the other hand, roll four lines fast and hard. All. The. That's the fourth-highest scoring season of his career. Point being? The Preds have options offensively. It should come as no shock that its winning a battle the Predators have relied on so much this postseason. "It's their best opportunity to win the series and where I think they have an edge, their power play against Anaheim penalty killing". The series shifts back to southern California for game seven on Wednesday.
The Predators are better in goal.
Rinne could not save them all, however.
"The fact that they survived it and still won the game is a good sign".
Rinne was in top form, but the Ducks' dominance in the faceoff circle paid off in the third period when Nate Thompson drew the puck back to Lindholm for a long shot past traffic.
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