It was sloppy and angry and surprising and, above all else, never boring. In the end, the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Nashville Predators, 5-3, to even the Western Conference Final at 1-1. [restrict]
Ryan Getzlaf had three assists to give him 18 points in the postseason. He assisted on a game-tying goal by Sami Vatanen, a game-winning goal by Nick Ritchie and the empty netter from Antoine Vermette that iced it.
Meanwhile, Pekka Rinne had his most ordinary game of these playoffs in giving up four goals on 26 shots, as the Ducks rallied from a 2-0 first-period hole. thril
The Predators took a 1-0 lead at 4:18 of the first period on a sick backhanded lead pass by Viktor Arvidsson to Ryan Johansen, who buried it.
It was 2-0 Nashville at 8:32 of the first as James Neal scored through a great Arvidsson screen – while Gibson guessed pass and guess wrong – on the power play.
The Ducks got one back with a minute left in the period, also on the power play, as Sami Vatenan blasted one past Rinne.
The Ducks tied the game on a layup goal by Jakob Silfverberg, his ninth of the playoffs, thanks to a sick cross-ice pass from Rickard Rakell just 39 seconds into the second period.
Filip Forsberg and Ondrej Kase traded goals within 2:42 of each other in the second period, but then Nick Ritchie blasted the puck over the shoulder of Rinne for the 4-3 lead at 17:07.
Vermitte had the empty netter at 19:16, after the Predators pulled Rinne with over two minutes remaining.
The game had some straight up playoff nastiness. There was the spear from Filip Forsberg on Silfverberg. There was a Rickard Rakell slash on P.K. Subban’s ankle. And there was a night full of animosity between Johansen and Kesler. [/restrict]