By Michael Walters
The Ducks came out strong to start the game, but it was the Predators who would score first. Colin Wilson would steal the puck from Simon Despres and then roof the puck over Andersen to make it 1-0. A few minutes later the Ducks would get called for two penalties and Anaheim would kill of both penalties, including 30 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play for Nashville. Later in the period the Predators would make it 2-0 as Paul Gaustad deflected a Shea Weber shot past Andersen. The play was reviewed and it was determined that the puck was not hit with a high stick. Predators led 2-0 and out shot the Ducks 10 to nine in the period.
The Ducks went to work to try to comeback and were rewarded with an early power play when Roman Josi was called for cross checking. Anaheim didn’t convert and continued to forecheck well in the period. Later on they went back on the power play when James Neal was called for elbowing, but again Anaheim couldn’t convert. The Ducks continued to apply pressure and out shot the Predators 13 to six in the period. They also earned a power play just before the period ended.
Ryan Kesler broke through on the power play just under two minutes into the period. A little over a minute later Mike Fisher was called for high sticking, but the Ducks couldn’t tie the game. Anaheim applied tremendous pressure in this period. There was several mad scrambles in the Nashville defensive zone. The Ducks best chance to tie the game came when Hampus Lindholm‘s shot bounced off the post and sat behind Rinne before being cleared out. Anaheim pulled Andersen for an extra skater in the final minutes, but was able to tie the game, losing 2-1.
Key Stat of the Game
24 blocked shots by Nashville. The Predators continued to get into the shooting lanes and absorbed several shots by Anaheim’s players.
Key Moment of the Game
Lindholm’s post shot in the third period. He blast a shot almost through Penne, but the puck was stopped by the post and then cleared out before it could cross the line.
Player of the Game
Rinne. He made 36 out of 37 saves in this game. He had to big some big stops again in the final minutes of the game for Nashville to hold on and win.
This game seven defeat was similar to past ones, but it also different too. Anaheim’s opponents scored first again and the Ducks trailed after the first period 2-0. It’s a familiar game seven script that Anaheim has seen going down 2-0 in the first period against Chicago in 2015, 3-0 to Los Angeles in 2014, and 2-1 against Detroit in 2013. The difference this time was Anaheim dominated the game from the first period on unlike their last three game sevens. The Ducks outshot the Predators 28 to 10 over the final 40 minutes. Once Nashville built the 2-0 lead, then they just sat on it. Normally it’s dangerous when a team holds back and tries to maintain a lead, especially a two goal lead. Nashville however was able to block shots, kept Anaheim from getting second opportunities, and relied on Rinne to make some huge stops in the third period. It worked as they were able to hold on to win 2-1 and eliminate Anaheim.
Anaheim now has to face several questions before next season. They have plenty of restricted and unrestricted free agents this summer to try to re-sign. Two of the biggest questions will be what Anaheim does with Frederik Andersen and whether or not Bruce Boudreau comes back for another season. No decisions need to be made at this moment, but later this summer they will be made after the organization takes a break from another disappointing and heartbreaking playoff exit.
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