Ducks' reward for Game 7 win is date with Rinne and Preds

Posted May 17, 2017

That's not exactly how it happened, though.

Rinne, who has allowed just 14 goals in 10 post-season games, frustrated the Blues with his superb goaltending and Ryan Johansen scored the eventual game victor at 3:15 of the third period on Sunday to give Nashville a 4-2 series victory. That's what ultimately matters. The Ducks won two of their three games (including one shootout win) and outscored the Predators 10-9 in those games. "Every game in the series was real tight, a lot of one-goal games". It would have made sense for the Ducks to come out firing after their big win over the Oilers on Wednesday, then wear down over the course of the evening.

They discovered that being the team to score first in these games really wasn't worth much.

Andrew Cogliano scored the tying goal midway through the second period for the Ducks, who had blown a 3-2 series lead and lost a game seven on home ice in four consecutive seasons. This is Nashville's first go around in the third round. Like, his family and his friends watching him play, I don't know how you cheer for a guy like that. They have had four full days of rest, preparation, and practice. Nashville hasn't struggled on the road in the postseason.

The Anaheim Ducks say they're ready to put a loss in the opener of the Western Conference final in the rearview mirror.

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) blocks a shot from Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf as Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm looks on during the second period of Game 1 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Wester.

"It is going to be physical all over ice", said Neal, who drove Anaheim defenseman Brandon Montour's head into the side boards just moments before scoring the game victor. "Maybe sometimes we shouldn't wait for that to get going". I think he's been awesome for us. Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa (lower body) played only once against the Oilers but should be closing in on a return. Converting on just one of those opportunities could have changed the outcome entirely. And the one thing that we've stated is that the will that has been demonstrated by the penalty killing units that our power play has been up against has exceeded our power play's will. However on the blue line the team does not have the same level of talent, which is something they need to build on but will take time and patience.

That will need to be fixed in a hurry.

It's possible head coach Todd McLellan will keep the two stars apart moving forward as a means of deepening an Edmonton lineup which should soon include 19-year-old Finn Jesse Puljujarvi, the fourth overall pick in 2016.

Elsewhere, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots as the Pittsburgh Penguins punched their ticket to the National Hockey League semi-finals with a 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals. The Ducks, meanwhile, are playing just 48 hours after eliminating the Oilers in a draining series. Neal then became the Predators' first repeat game-winning goal-scorer.

Ritchie beat Cam Talbot 3:21 into the third period, his second career playoff goal putting the Ducks ahead in a Game 7 for the first time in five years - and ahead of the Oilers for the first time in almost 193 minutes since late in Game 4.

Nashville showed its own resilience in Game 1 after a third period described by coach Peter Laviolette as their worst in a long while. They penalty kill unit came through.

Vatanen, Jakob Silfverberg and Ondrej Kase also scored for the Ducks before Antoine Vermette added an empty-netter. He stopped 43 of the 46 shots he faced, despite being victimized on a few tough bounces. The Preds have a ton of momentum right now and Pekka Rinne is playing the best hockey of his career. Subban, who has seven total points in these playoffs, has played a big role in helping shut down the likes of the Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko and Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Friday was a strong step in the right direction, but it wasn't quite enough. In the end, rust or not, Rinne and the Predators were too much for the Ducks to handle.