Rinne's rare off-night gives Ducks life in Western Conference Final

Paola Ditto
Mag 20, 2017

Josi's goal was the first power-play tally of the series for Nashville.

Ryan Johansen and James Neal scored for the Predators in the first-period.

The Predators are counting on longtime goalie Pekka Rinne (9-3, 1.62 GAA, .942 SV%) to bounce back after his first subpar game this postseason.

Johansen gave the Predators a 1-0 lead with a breakaway goal at 4:18 of the first period. With his second-period goal and 35th of his playoff career, Ducks RW Corey Perry tied Teemu Selanne for second on the franchise's all-time playoff goals list. Kase scored the tying goal in the second period - his first of the playoffs - as part of a huge night for that line that saw Getzlaf collect three assists and Ritchie score the decisive tally, his second-game victor in three contests.

Allowing four goals and an empty-netter shouldn't be that big a deal.

NOTES: After going 0-for-20 on the power play over six consecutive games, Anaheim scored a power-play goal for the second straight contest. His shot was kicked away by Gibson, but Forsberg was right there on the rebound for his sixth goal of the postseason to equalize things less than 4:00 into the third.

Even though the Ducks and Predators have scored eight goals each through three games in the Western finals, the latter has skated toward a potential Stanley Cup Final bid with far more control, and that was especially the case Tuesday night. “Hes a terrific player, and I think hes just worked on fitting inside of the concept of how we want to play as a team.”.

"I think it's great", the winger said of the victory.

The power play has also been affected by his absence and has notched a 0-for-10 mark in the Penguins' last three games. I don't know what's going through his head over there. It was only fitting that Anaheim pulled off another improbable victory, after doing so in the first two rounds, erasing three-goal leads in games against Calgary and Edmonton. The Senators have to keep it clean early to counter the fresh Penguins lines and their inevitable attack.

"It doesn't matter if I did or didn't get in his head for me", Kesler said Tuesday, a few hours before Game 3. "It's nearly like we feel, 'Oh, we've got nothing to lose now.' It's nearly like that's when we play our best game". When the game was on the line, in the third period, Anaheim won 57% of the draws during this critical period.

After Game 1, the focus was on face-offs being something that Nashville needed to key on as the series continued.

"We believe that we can go in any building and play with the teams that we're up against and give ourselves a chance for success", Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.

"We understand, they wait", Malkin said. Stream every single game of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with Sportsnet NOW.

Clearly, knocking Johansen off his game is important for Anaheim to advance. "We got better as the game went on". "They found a way to claw back", said forward Johansen. "It's not that we didn't show up and play hard, or we weren't ready to compete or ... we played good teams".

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Gibson is getting better as the pressure mounts. He also said he has received lots of text messages from family and friends telling him they will still cheer him on.

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