By Michael Walters
The Ducks went to work on the forecheck right away and were rewarded with a power play about two minutes into the game. The Ducks didn’t convert and went on the power play a few minutes later. The Ducks didn’t convert on the second opportunity either. It was an evenly played period as both teams had chances and their respective goalies played well. The period ended with a penalty on Nashville and a subsequent penalty on Anaheim, resulting with 4-on-4 play that carried to the start of the second. Nashville outshot Anaheim 13 to 12.
The first 10 minutes of the second period was similar to the first period as both teams exchanged chances without any scoring. The Ducks went on a power play just over 11 minutes into the period, but couldn’t convert. Ryan Johansen would get the game’s first goal as he made a nice move lifting the puck up and over Andersen’s shoulder for a goal. The Ducks would answer right back as David Perron took a point shot that deflected off Roman Josi‘s skate, up and over Rinne’s glove into the net. Less than two minutes later Ryan Garbutt would make a power move and jam the puck at the side of the net between the post and Rinne’s pads to make it 2-1 in favor Anaheim. James Neal took an elbowing penalty at the end of the period and the Ducks started the third period on the power play. Shots favored Anaheim eight to seven.
The Ducks didn’t score on the Neal penalty and a few minutes later Sami Vatanen was called for hooking. The Ducks killed the penalty and Jakob Silfverberg found Vatanen as he stepped out of the box for a breakaway. Vatanen made no mistake and burned Rinne making it 3-1 in favor of Anaheim. Miikka Salomaki would score and get the Predators back within one. A point shot was blocked and Salomaki was able to get to it first and shoot it past Andersen’s outstretched leg pad. A few minutes later Mike Ribeiro took a penalty and Cam Fowler made them pay with a slap shot to make it 4-2 in favor of Anaheim. Nashville pulled their goalie in the final minutes and Ryan Kesler added an empty net goal to make it a 5-2 final.
Key Moment of the Game
Sami’s Vatanen’s goal. Nashville was on a power play trying to tie the game and Vatanen scoring right after he got out of the box was a big momentum swing for Anaheim. It gave the Ducks a two goal lead and it proved to be the game winner as Nashville would pull within one later in the period.
Key Stat of the Game
Anaheim’s penalty kill was a perfect 100% efficient this game. The Ducks have only given up one power play goal in this series and are outstanding 95.5% in killing off penalties.
Player of the Game
David Perron. He scored just 22 seconds after Nashville’s first goal to take away any momentum the Predators created after scoring the game’s first goal. Perron then assisted on Garbutt’s power move goal. Perron helped the Ducks go from being down one goal to being up by one instead within less than two minutes of play.
The beginning of this contest had the feel that it could go either way as to who would win. The first 30 minutes were evenly played as both teams made pushes and each goaltender continued to make save after save. Nashville broke through first, but the play of Perron and Garbutt quickly turned the tables back in favor of Anaheim. In the third, it felt like Nashville could tie the game as they went on a power play early in the period, but an opportunistic Vatanen would score on a breakaway out of the box to again swing the momentum Anaheim’s way. The Ducks finally broke through on the power play to put the game out of reach.
Nashville, in particular Neal, seemed to key on Corey Perry at times in this game to slow him down. It worked in the sense that Perry didn’t score a goal, but five other Ducks players scored in this contest. The balanced attack of Anaheim has given Nashville problems in the last three contests as the Ducks have outscored the Predators 12 to 3 in that time span. The only concern for Anaheim has been their power play, which broke through in the final moments of game five after many chances.
Brandon Pirri and Clayton Stoner have both been skating individually, but not with the team. According to Eric Stephens of the OC Register, Pirri suffered a head injury on April 1 when hit by Vancouver defenseman Nikita Tryamkin. Stoner has a minor upper body injury and there isn’t a time estimate for his return either.
Game Stats and Notes
In three games now Andersen has only given up three goals for a 1.00 GAA. He has an outstanding .966 SV% and has stopped 84 of 87 shots on net.
Towards the end of the Anaheim Ducks’ victory, Ryan Kesler scored an empty net goal and pointed to the sky afterward. It wasn’t a typical Kesler type celebration that fans have been used to seeing him display.
Kesler said, “That one was for him.” He explained to OC Register staff columnist Jeff Miller that he was referring to his grandfather, Jack Hammerschmidt, who died early Saturday.
Our condolences to him and his family.
The Ducks look to close out the series on Monday at 5PM PT.
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