Chris Carlson/Associated Press
The Anaheim Ducks bounced back from an early deficit and outlasted the Nashville Predators for a wild 5-3 Game 2 win on Sunday night.
Anaheim’s victory evens the Western Conference Final at 1-1, creating what should be an entertaining series as it shifts to Nashville.
The Ducks trailed 2-0 and 3-2 in Game 2, but their come-from-behind ability was present as they pulled out the much-needed win.
Ryan Getzlaf led the way with three assists, bringing his playoff point total to 18, and 12 Ducks players finished with at least one point in a balanced effort. Nick Ritchie was responsible for the go-ahead score in the second period, while Jakob Silfverberg added his ninth goal of the playoffs, tied for the most in the NHL.
All of this added up to the worst game of the postseason for Pekka Rinne, who had been nearly unbeatable the past few weeks. The Nashville star allowed four goals, his most in 12 playoff games.
He made 22 saves, but he also allowed some uncharacteristically easy scores due to bad positioning:
Now tied for the League lead with nine goals… @jsilfverberg33. #NSHvsANA #StanleyCup https://t.co/oZFEVvbzGj
5/15/2017, 12:57:28 AM
Ah, the old bank shot off the noggin. #NSHvsANA #StanleyCup https://t.co/h0Da0GZ0H9
5/15/2017, 1:27:53 AM
Anaheim goalie John Gibson had been inconsistent coming in, but he saved 30 of the Predators’ 33 shots on goal to lead his team to a win. While the Ducks offense will be the focus of the game, the young goalie deserves credit for shutting down the Predators after the poor start.
Power plays were an early key after the teams went a combined 0-of-9 in those situations in Game 1. Both sides scored on their first extra-man opportunity to help kick off a high-scoring battle:
NHL on NBC @NHLonNBCSports
“Go to your home, little puck” -James Neal
Stream → https://t.co/f8cNe7Eadb #StanleyCup https://t.co/h15XoC5ipK
5/15/2017, 12:15:49 AM
A single blast has the @AnaheimDucks right back in it. #NSHvsANA #StanleyCup https://t.co/RNx3eOTdVm
5/15/2017, 12:29:59 AM
The Predators appeared to be the better team in the first period, but the score was just 2-1.
There was even more action in the second period, with the Ducks scoring three of the four goals to take a 4-3 lead. When there weren’t goals, there were big hits and some chippy play from both sides.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports described the battle heading into the third period:
Greg Wyshynski @wyshynski
This series is getting to a very nasty place and I love this series so much right now #NSHvsANA
5/15/2017, 1:21:12 AM
However, the third period was all about defense, with neither squad giving up many easy opportunities.
Antoine Vermette was then able to seal the game in the final minute with an empty-net goal for the Ducks.
Nashville did an excellent job of taking advantage of opportunities, scoring two impressive goals in open ice:
See ya later, @RyanJohansen19.
His 13 points tie a @PredsNHL franchise record. #StanleyCup https://t.co/yZJJqzSp91
5/15/2017, 12:03:43 AM
Arvidsson with the work, Forsberg with the finish. #NSHvsANA #StanleyCup https://t.co/rRLzRjhK0s
5/15/2017, 1:08:30 AM
Unfortunately, Gibson was there to stop just about everything else in what ended being a two-score finish.
Despite the disappointing finish, the Predators remain in good shape with a 1-1 series tie and the next two games coming at home.
Considering the team is 5-0 in Nashville this postseason, Game 3 on Tuesday could be an opportunity to regain the advantage in this matchup.