By Michael Walters
Nashville’s James Neal scored just 35 into the game as the Predators got off to a quick start. Both teams exchanged power play chances and neither could convert. Late in the period the Ducks would get a 5-on-3 power play opportunity and Ryan Getzlaf tied the game at one. At the end of the period Josh Manson took a shot at the net and Filip Forsberg hit him in the head. There was no penalty on the play and Manson did not return in the game. Shots were tied at 12.
To begin this period, it would be the Ducks that would get the early goal as Ryan Kesler shot one past a screened Rinne. Anaheim lead 2-1. Nashville would then go on a power play as Jakob Silfverberg was called for interference. The Ducks killed off the penalty, but a few minutes later Colin Wilson would tip a pass just inside the post behind Gibson. The Ducks had a power play later in the period, but didn’t convert. The score was tied at two and Nashville held the shot advantage in the period 13 to eight.
The teams battled for nearly half a period with no scoring. Then a costly turnover by Simon Despres put Nashville on the counter attack. Forsberg would score after an attempted pass would go off of Shea Theodore‘s skate and just past Gibson’s leg pad. The Ducks tried to rally to tie the game. Anaheim pulled Gibson in the final minutes and had some opportunities, but lost 3-2.
Key Moment of the Game
Forsberg’s goal. His goal by have been the result of a fortunate bounce, but that’s playoff hockey and it was the game winner.
Key Stat of the Game
25 turnovers by Anaheim. Nashville clogged up the neutral zone and the Ducks passing game was not on point.
The Ducks weren’t ready in this game. Anaheim loses games when their passes aren’t clean, they commit too many turnovers, and the forecheck is inconsistent. The Ducks had trouble in all of those areas, but what was most concerning was the lack of physical play. The questionable hit by Forsberg on Manson went unnoticed by the NHL officials, but it shouldn’t have by the Ducks. The Ducks didn’t play a physical enough game against the Predators. Not having Clayton Stoner, Kevin Bieksa, and then losing Josh Manson for the last two periods didn’t help the Ducks lack of physical play. Anaheim was forced to play the rest of the game with only five defensemen, four of which are more offensive minded. Game two is a must win for Anaheim. Dropping the first two in Anaheim before going to Nashville is not an option.
Manson left the game after being hit in the head at the end of the first period. He is supposed to be re-evaluated today.
Cam Fowler required stitches in his mouth.
Anaheim won the face-off battle 42 to 27.
Anaheim’s special teams provided a goal on the power play and the penalty kill was perfect.
Game two is Sunday at 7:30PM PT at Honda Center.
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