National Hockey League playoffs 2017: James Neal's goal gives Predators OT win over Ducks

Hazel Gray
May 20, 2017

They scored the first goal of the game in the first period, allowing them to lock in head coach Guy Boucher's 1-3-1 modified trap system that precludes teams from rushing the puck up the ice with speed through the neutral zone, forcing them to chip the puck in and retrieve it beneath the goal line in the offensive zone.

It may be the Ducks and Predators in the Western Conference Final, but after only two games, all anyone wants to talk about is the budding rivalry of Ryan Johansen and Ryan Kesler.

The Predators are the first National Hockey League team in 20 years to win 10 consecutive home playoff games.

The Predators took another lead when Forsberg converted a rebound of a breakaway by speedy Viktor Arvidsson, who had two assists.

Nick Ritchie broke a 3-3 tie late in the second period on an assist from Ryan Getzlaf, who set up three goals.

A game after they virtually went scoreless on power-play tries against Gibson, the Preds did not convert on a man advantage until 17:17 into the third period Tuesday, when Roman Josi laced the puck into the net. For the second straight game, Corey Perry was held without a shot on goal.

Of course, Pekka Rinne reverted back to his old self and a few soft plays by the stingy Predators defense allowed the Ducks to climb back in the game.

That would be Ritchie's second game-winning goal in the playoffs. John Gibson made 30 saves for the Ducks. Game 3 and Game 4 are Tuesday and Thursday at Bridgestone Arena. I got a chance to hang out, actually, one of the UFC Fights, the Fight Night that was here in Nashville, hanging out with James Neal and P.K. Subban, who are both just great guys.

Anaheim's Ryan Kesler, who's always been one for getting under the skin of the opposition, may have took it to another level against Johansen on Sunday night.

The Predators have been a model of consistency while going 9-2 in the post-season, and they think much of the credit should be placed on a defensive corps that might be the best in the playoffs. It was only fitting that Anaheim pulled off another improbable victory, after doing so in the first two rounds, erasing three-goal leads in games against Calgary and Edmonton.

Otherwise, these Penguins could turn into mice and continue to get caught in the Senators' trap. "It's nearly like we feel, 'Oh, we've got nothing to lose now.' It's nearly like that's when we play our best game".

Nashville showed its own resilience in Game 1 after a third period described by coach Peter Laviolette as their worst in a long while. The win gives Nashville a 2-1 series lead. "And on one flurry it went to 14", Carlyle said. But it's hard on them and it's going to be harder as the games get going.

"There's a lot of things to like but it's just one game", Boucher said. He stood tall in the net and he gave us a chance. Now, he has helped the Ducks get within a series of the Stanley Cup final. They have tremendous scoring balance as their forwards and defensemen are all capable of chipping in. Nashville has looked like the better team through a pair of games in Anaheim. We've been a good team on the road. "Whether it's overtime or third period or we're leading or we're trailing. We need to play the same way, and they're going to go in some time".

Other reports by VgToday

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER