Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Round 3 - Game 2 - Ducks vs. Predators RECAP: Even Up

Round 3 - Game 2 - Ducks vs. Predators RECAP: Even Up

Josi's game-winner was his fifth goal of the playoffs, three have come in the third period.

In Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, however, the home team sprang brilliantly to life, soon enough this time to put together a 5-3 win and tie the series at a game apiece.

The Predators took a 2-0 lead when Anaheim goalie John Gibson lost track of the puck and allowed Canadian Neal to get in behind him and score into an empty cage.

Therefore the Ducks will have trouble advancing past the Predators to the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals.

Neal scored 9:24 into OT, Pekka Rinne made 27 saves and the Predators kicked off their first appearance in the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. Through the first two games, Predators center Ryan Johansen has four points, including two in the first ten minutes of Game 2.

"They have a lot of talent out there", Johansen said. Ottawa got outstanding goaltending from Craig Anderson who has played two fantastic games in net for them in a row, going back to the close out game against the New York Rangers in the second round.

The Predators insist they can play that game too - and keep their cool no matter what pesky Ducks center Ryan Kesler does.

"I think the guys will be fine", he said. "It's a great sign for a team". After Game 2, we're still talking about it.

Just when the Ducks appeared to be in serious danger of losing two straight home games to start their second straight series, they made a thrilling surge of four goals in less than 19 minutes. With the series tied at one, it's back to square one for both teams, but a big advantage is still there for the Predators, who have yet to lose a game on home ice in these playoffs. Josi was assisted on his goal by Viktor Arvidsson and Mattias Ekholm. Ritchie, who had scored the series-clinching victor against the Oilers, then gave the Ducks their first lead of the series on an eye-level slap shot that Rinne seemed to duck his head on. "But it was a good feeling to see it go in".

Zidane predicts 'great final' with former club Juventus
It was a tense match early on, with players from both teams trying to pressure the referee and complaining with each other. Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said the Champions League final match against Juventus will be a special one.

Continue to improve on face-offs, get back to clogging the neutral zone and make the Ducks chase the puck instead of driving it uncharacteristically past the blueline.

Although Honda Center was much fuller and louder than it was for the traffic-affected series opener, Johansen scored on a breakaway just 4:18 in.

"He's the best goalie in the league", said Filip Forsberg.

Rinne, who had entered the game with a sparkling.950 save percentage, is unlikely to play this shaky again.

The Nashville Predators are now two wins away from their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals. Anaheim and Nashville are meeting in the postseason for the third time, including the past two seasons.

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.

This is not to say that Rinne's Conn Smythe-worthy performance through the first two rounds has completely evaporated, but his peer in the other net has been by far the better netminder through the first two games of the series - Gibson stopped 43 to Rinne's 27 in Nashville's double-overtime Game 1 victory.

"We knew they were going to come hard", Gibson said.

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