By: Matthew Garcia
Anaheim entered game four needing a win to avoid an elimination game Saturday night in game five on home ice. Anaheim came close to securing a game three victory but mistakes late in the third period proved to be costly as Nashville rallied behind a Filip Forsberg goal 3:54 into the third period which set the pace for the final period of play, a late penalty for hi-sticking levied against Chris Wagner would be the nail in the coffin as Roman Josi would find a loose puck laying to the side of the net out of the sight of goaltender John Gibson and would fire it into a yawning net. to give Nashville the lead with less than three minutes to play. Tonight’s starting goalies would be Gibson for Anaheim and Pekka Rinne for Nashville.
The Ducks would come out of the gate flying and would dictate the pace of play throughout the first period and it would pay off as Rickard Rakell would take a home-run pass from Cam Fowler, catching Nashville on a line change and he would fire a slap shot past the blocker side of Rinne to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead 11:30 into the opening period. The Ducks would be the recipient’s of the games first power play as Forsberg would be on the receiving end of a cross-checking penalty. Anaheim would not be able to convert on the opportunity and would move to 0/1 on the night in the PP department. Late in the period Nashville would be given an opportunity to draw even as Ryan Getzlaf would sit two minutes on a cross-checking penalty, the Predators would not be able to draw even or register a shot on net during the two minute power play. The first period horn would sound and the Ducks would head to the locker room with a 1-0 lead and a 14-2 shots advantage.
The Predators would enter the second period of play with a little more pep to their step and would register the first six shots on net pinning Anaheim in their zone for a substantial amount of time, but the tides would turn in the Ducks’ favor midway through the period and in a big way as Nick Ritchie would check into the game with a goal of his own as he would beat Rinne high glove with a quick wrist shot to give Anaheim a 2-0 lead 10:22 into the middle frame. Nashville would quickly turn the tides again as they would out possess Anaheim heavily within the next few minutes of play and the most notable chance for Nashville that second period would come from Forsberg who would manage to maintain possession with the puck in his skates before getting control and an attempt to slide the puck past Gibson, but Gibson would sprawl out with his left leg and get a piece of the puck sending it wide of the net. The second period horn would sound and Anaheim would take a 2-0 lead into the final period of play.
Anaheim would enter the third period of play just twenty minutes away from tying the series at two heading back to Orange County. The Ducks would get a golden opportunity just 6:20 into the third period as Predators defenseman P.K. Subban would be the recipient of an elbowing call against Rakell. The power play would stifled by a Corey Perry slashing penalty. Nashville would be on the power play for 1:42 after the penalty expires on Subban. The Ducks would be able to successful in killing off the penalty but would head right back to the penalty kill as Ondrej Kase would be on the receiving end of a tripping call, Ducks prevail but the momentum would be on the Predators side as Subban would rip home a slap shot to pull Nashville to within one goal with just under seven minutes to play. The parade to the penalty box would continue for Anaheim as Kevin Bieksa would be sent to the box on a hi-sticking call to give Nashville their fourth power play of the night, but it would only get worse as 29 seconds later Josh Manson would be sent to the box on a slashing call. 5-3 power play for Nashville. Anaheim would kill of the extended two-man advantage but Nashville would swarm and Forsberg would get the tying goal with 33 seconds left to play.
After collapsing in the final minutes of the third period due to a lack of discipline we would be headed to overtime for the second time this series. Nashville is 4-0 this postseason in the overtime session and Anaheim would be 3-1. The Predators would come out hot in the overtime period and push for the game winning goal, but Gibson would be up for the test stopping several grade A chances from Nashville. The Ducks would come close to winning the game as Perry would strip the puck drop it for Getzlaf who would pass it to Rakell and would be stopped by Rinne and would ring one off the post on his follow-up bid. The Ducks would continue with the pressure and it would pay off as Perry would find a loose puck along the corner board and fire a puck on net that would re-direct up over Rinne and into the back of the net to seal the deal in game four and even up the series heading back to Anaheim.
Final Score: Anaheim-3 Nashville-2 (OT)
The Ducks would get off to their best start of the series and would out shoot the Predators 14-2 after one period of play and a period that would see Rakell pot his seventh goal of the playoffs, the Ducks would sit back a bit in the second period of play allowing Nashville to play with the puck far more than what they did in the first, but it would be Ritchie giving Anaheim a 2-0 lead going into the third period. A very undisciplined third period would see Subban, and Forsberg each score a goal in the final 10 minutes of play to force overtime. And as we’ve seen before Perry would come alive at the right times for Anaheim as he would net his fourth goal of the post-season and third overtime game-winning goal in these 2017 playoffs.
The Ducks have now scored more playoff overtime goals (4) than they had regular season overtime goals (3).
The Ducks have won 13 straight games in which Nick Ritchie has scored, dating back to Dec. 7, 2016.
The Ducks and Colorado Avalanche have the most playoff overtime road wins (15) since 1997.
Click below to watch highlights of the Ducks win!
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May 19th, 2017