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Stanley Cup Playoffs: Predators regain West finals lead, stay unbeaten at home

20 Mai 2017

Nashville took a 1-0 lead at 4:18 in the first period when Viktor Arvidsson sprung Ryan Johansen on a breakaway. Jakob Silfverberg leads Anaheim with nine goals, Ryan Getzlaf has 10 assists and Rickard Rakell has 42 shots on goal. Gibson was impenetrable in Russian Federation that year, giving up just two goals total in the medal round while facing shooters such as Mark Scheifele, Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Tomas Hertl and, ironically, future Nashville standouts Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. The Ducks took consecutive delay-of-game penalties in the third but killed off a lengthy 5-on-3 disadvantage, punctuated by a magnificent, cross-crease save by Gibson on Roman Josi to preserve the tie. The Under is 3-0-2 in Nashville's five home playoff games to this point, with the trends pointing toward a lower scoring pair of games coming up in Music City between the Ducks and Predators in this series. Vermette put the puck into the empty net to secure the 5-3 win.

But the four teams left vying for the Stanley Cup this spring - the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in the East and Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks in the West - all made a handful of significant trades to get to this point. The Predators outshot the Ducks 28-to-13 after 40 minutes — the Ducks only had four shots in the second period —but it was not until the third period when Forsberg finally timed the game. To his credit, Gibson was excellent, with 38 saves for the Ducks. After the overtime heroics that lifted Nashville over Anaheim to open the series, the Ducks responded with a physical, overwhelming game on Sunday.

That goal came just after the Ducks had a potential score waved off by referee Brad Meier. We have our fans standing up the whole third period, literally, and cheering us on. “Hes a terrific player, and I think hes just worked on fitting inside of the concept of how we want to play as a team.”.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle paid tribute to Gibson's shot-stopping work in goal.

Vatanen ripped a shot over the shoulder of Rinne late in the first period and Silfverberg one-timed a handsome pass from Rickard Rakell from in close just 39 seconds into the second.

Until, that is, Finnish defenceman Sami Vatanen wired a slapper far side on Rinne, breathing life into the Ducks with exactly one minute left in what had been a moribund first period for Anaheim. Nobody panicked. We knew we played a good game, and we had a lot of chances, a lot of shots.

"We understand, they wait", Malkin said. 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. "He goes into the (tough) areas and can make plays with good players".

But the Ducks pulled even again on the first career playoff goal for Kase, the aggressive Czech rookie, who slipped a puck through traffic.

Game 4 in the series takes place in Nashville on Thursday. For most of the game the Predators were leading the game then Anaheim came back by tying it then taking the lead.

"I mean, it just blows my mind watching", Johansen said. Neal doubled the lead on a power play with one of the easiest goals in recent National Hockey League history, escorting the puck unimpeded into the net when Gibson completely lost sight of the play. They might have outscored the Ducks by only one goal, but their efforts were that of a team desperate to overwhelm with aggressiveness and persistent in attempts to capitalize on some undisciplined play by the Ducks. He's eager to remind everyone that he's only one component of a defensive group that has driven the Predators to these unprecedented post-season heights. He robbed James Neal with just over two minutes left in the second, appearing to stop Neal's shot with the shaft of his stick. And they were just getting started.

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Predators regain West finals lead, stay unbeaten at home