Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Predators Win on Late Josi Goal, Take 2-1 Series Lead over Ducks

The Nashville Predators took a 2-1 series lead over the Anaheim Ducks in their best-of-7 Western Conference final on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena with a hard-fought 2-1 victory. Roman Josi drove home a power play goal at 17:17 of the third period to cap a third-period comeback that saw Nashville battle back from a goal down and continue to push for the game-winner despite having two goals disallowed due to goaltender interference.

The Predators have now won 10 consecutive home playoff games since they lost Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series with the Ducks last season. Nashville improved to 2-1 in these playoffs when trailing after two while the Ducks dropped to 5-1 when leading heading into the third.

Nashville outshot the Ducks 40 to 20 and did not allow a shot on goal in the final 11 minutes and 23 seconds of the game. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Predators finished with 28 scoring chances to 11 for the Ducks.

Anaheim opened the scoring on a power play goal from Corey Perry, his first of the series and third of the playoffs, at 15:35 of the second. The veteran sent a wrister from the goal line that somehow got past Rinne, who had trouble getting his positioning against the post on the play.

Nashville leveled at 3:54 of the third on Filip Forsberg's 6th goal of the playoffs. Forsberg won a loose puck from Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen, dished it out front to Ryan Ellis for a chance and then banged home the rebound as Anaheim goalie John Gibson was falling beneath the weight of Viktor Arvidsson, who was sent into the goalie on a check from behind by Vatanen.

"We never stopped believing," said Filip Forsberg after the game. "We were taking over after that goal."

The Predators kept coming late and finally broke through after Chris Wagner was sent to the box for high-sticking at 16:05. Mattias Ekholm's point shot was stopped by Gibson but the rebound caromed off of Arvidsson right to Josi who deposited into the open net for the eventual game winner.

With the roof virtually coming off the Bridgestone Arena, the Ducks could not manage a single shot on goal down the stretch, even with Gibson pulled for an extra skater for the final minute and 22 seconds.

Game 4 is Thursday night in Nashville.