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20 May 2017, 02:45 | Charlene Valdez
Nashville is still an untraditional hockey market, but the Predators are establishing a tradition of winning here.
Roman Josi, Predators - Josi is tied with fellow defenseman Ryan Ellis with 10 points in these playoffs, second in the National Hockey League behind Erik Karlsson. "It's unbelievable. Our fans, they're fantastic".
It looked like they grabbed the lead moments later when Colton Sissons buried a rebound into an open net, but the referees blew the play dead prior to the goal when Harry Zolnierczyk was pushed into Gibson knocking him out of the play.
Nashville was able to kill off the Anaheim Power Play with relative ease backed by an ear-splitting crowd cheering every deflection and clear.
We knew this series was going to get nasty... fast. It means I'm doing my job.
They weren't as prepared as they believed, and Gibson kept his teammates in the game far longer than their effort probably merited.
Down one goal late in the third period, the Predators had four separate face-offs in the offensive zone, but came away empty-handed four straight times - two of which came directly off icings, but all four were lost by Ryan Johansen.
"We're looking for that next play instead of putting pucks at the net", Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "So I don't know who is counting the shots".
Just when the Ducks appeared to be in serious danger of losing two straight home games to start their second straight series, they made a thrilling surge of four goals in less than 19 minutes.
Add in a dose of heavy physicality, more so than we saw in Game 1, and the Predators were effectively drawn off the style of game that they prefer to play into an environment that the Ducks excel in.
"The penalty at the end of the first changed the game, changed the momentum", Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.
"The scores at this time of the year generally are fairly low". Their bottom six looked quite good in Game 1, and that even goes for oft-maligned winger Cody McLeod.
The result of those moves was a Cup celebration and parade last summer, and they continue to pay dividends.
"You could sense going into that third period the guys were saying the right things". If the first one was debatable, the second one was obvious to all but the raucous fans who thought Mattias Ekholm should have been allowed to bowl over Gibson.
Again, though, the story isn't necessarily about how the Ducks came back to tie and ultimately win the game 5-3, but about Nashville's inability to control the puck when it needed to.
Johansen gave the Ducks credit for coming back.
Nashville took a 1-0 lead at 4:18 in the first period when Viktor Arvidsson sprung Ryan Johansen on a breakaway. Getzlaf said it was partly the Ducks' own fault.
He will need to maintain that level to give Ottawa a chance to win this series. "They were good around our net".
"We're a confident team", Josi said.
The Preds allowed the Ducks to provoke them into playing their game last night, so the Ducks get full marks for that, at times, the Predators lost their discipline, did not play the game they know will be successful, they were loose on defense and Pekka Rinne had his first sub-par game of the playoffs. They faced relatively little adversity while steamrolling Chicago and St. Louis in the first two rounds on the way to the first conference finals in franchise history.
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Asked how much that hurt his team, Stevens said, "Not 44 points worth". "I think ultimately they were terrific, we were poor". The win was the Cavaliers' 13th straight in the playoffs, dating back to the last three games of the finals previous year .
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