By Phil Wunderlich and Mike Walters
At the start of the game you could already tell that it was going to be a very physical, chippy game. A game that of course no other player than Ryan Kesler would enjoy more. The Predators would score the first goal of the game as everyone’s favorite player, Ryan Johansen, would score on a breakaway within the first five minutes of the game. Shortly after Nick Ritchie would take the first penalty for interference. Ducks did phenomenal on this penalty kill. Perry would go to the box for tripping and the Predators would capitalize as they score the second goal as well but would not startle the Ducks. The Predators towards the end of the period would go short handed as Matt Irwin got called for tripping and the Ducks would do something that they have not done much of this playoffs, score on a power play! Sami Vatanen would score his first playoff goal this season and would bring the score within one going into the second. Nashville outshot the Ducks 10-5 in the first period.
Within thirty seconds of the second period the Ducks would score again as playoff star, Jakob Silfverberg would score his ninth goal and tie the game up. Later on in the period Filip Forsberg would score and bring the score 3-2 in the Predators favor. The Ducks would answer however as Ondrej Kase would score his first goal in the playoffs as well as the puck just trickles behind Pekka Rinne. The Ducks would score yet again and take the lead in the ending of the period as Ritchie would shoot off a canon of a shot just past Rinne’s head. Johansen would continue getting into it with Kesler as he would take a penalty against him for high-sticking, however despite a few chances the Ducks were unsuccessful on this power play. The shots would even out this period as both teams had 11.
A minute within the start of the period the Ducks would take another penalty as Kesler would go to the box for tripping on Forsberg. Ducks killed the penalty however. To close the period Vermette would score the assurance goal as he would score the empty netter. The Ducks played very defensively during this period despite being outshot 12-11. The Ducks head to Nashville with the series tied 1-1.
Ryan Johansen Voices His Opinion About Ryan Kesler
“I mean, it just blows my mind watching. I don’t know what’s going through his head over there. Like, his family and his friends watching him play, I don’t know how you can cheer for a guy like that. It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game,” Johansen said. “I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey, and it sucks when you’ve got to pull a stick out of your groin every shift.”
During the game, the two centers went at it each time they were on the ice. Most of the time they were jawing at one and other, but it was physical as well. At one point Kesler delivered an elbow to Johansen’s head and in another instance Johansen high-sticked Kesler in the face.
“I play the game hard, and obviously he doesn’t like that,” Kesler said in a television interview.
Asked whether he felt Kesler was throwing Johansen off his game, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette praised Johansen for his composure.
“I think Ryan has been completely composed,” Laviolette said. “The penalty that he took tonight was a faceoff where he was battling for a puck, and the stick came up. I think it was more accidental than anything.”
These two will get to go at it tomorrow in Nashville and for at least three more games total.
Click below for video highlights of the Ducks big win!
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May 15th, 2017