Sunday, April 17, 2011

Preds 4, Ducks 3: Resiliency 101


After a seesaw battle full of every emotion possible, the Nashville Predators came out the victors of Game 3, beating the Anaheim Ducks 4-3, grabbing a 2-1 series lead for the second consecutive season. With Bobby Ryan serving the first of his two game suspension, Nashville needed to take advantage, and take advantage they did, but not without a little drama.

1st Period
  • Martin Erat got the Preds on the board with a PP marker at 15:00, taking a Cody Franson feed in front of Ray Emery and lifting his own rebound over the Ducks goaltender.
  • In Game 2, Anaheim's first two goals came 38 seconds apart. Tonight, Nashville's first two goals came 38 apart, thanks to Jordin Tootoo. Tootoo stole the puck off of Ryan Getzlaf's stick in the Ducks zone, put a backhander off the post, but made a great individual effort in reaching back and getting his stick on the puck to get it past Emery.
2nd Period
  • They were dominating Anaheim in the shot department. They were staying out of the penalty box, keeping the Ducks lethal power play off the ice. Nashville even had three opportunities on the PP to extend their lead. Unfortunately, Emery held the fort, allowing his team to get back in the game.
  • Near the end of the period, Getzlaf and Mike Fisher dropped the gloves. The Ducks listened to the message their captain sent, and cut the Preds lead in half at 18:10. Corey Perry took the puck off Ryan Suter's stick, and centered a pass to Teemu Selanne in the slot, who buried a shot past Pekka Rinne.
  • Selanne may be a step slower than he used to be, but he is able to use his experience to his advantage in turn. 30 seconds after his first goal, Selanne anticipated a bounce off the back boards after a Perry shot, and had a wide open net to deposit the puck into. Just like that, all of the momentum Nashville had built up was gone.
3rd Period
  • Nashville regained the lead at 5:25, as Suter centered a pass that appeared to be intended for Joel Ward. Ward was taken down by Todd Marchant, but the puck continued through the crease to David Legwand, who was all alone backdoor, and didn't miss.
  • 1:23 later, the score was knotted again. Matt Belesky deflected a Saku Koivu shot from the point, which in turn deflected off the skate of Cody Franson, and past Rinne.
  • The Preds retook the lead for good at 10:21, as Sergei Kostitsyn picked up a loose puck and made a brilliant backhand pass across the crease to Fisher, who was also all alone backdoor to finish the job.
Other Thoughts
  • The Mike Fisher trade continues to pay dividends in the series. Fisher went 11-of-17 in the faceoff circle, dropped the gloves, and scored the game winner.
  • Three games, three power play goals. After last year's power play scored a grand total of one goal with the man advantage, a stat like that is terrific, as unusual as it sounds for a team like Nashville.

So... here we are again. Nashville has a 2-1 lead, and yet another chance to grab a two game lead for the first time in franchise history. Bobby Ryan again won't be available, so Nashville MUST take advantage.

No excuses.

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