Back home, Predators eager to match Ducks' physical play

Beth Cruz
May 18, 2017

Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson sprawls on the ice after making a stop against Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher (12) during the first period in Game 3 of the Western Conference final in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playof.

Laviolette called the high-stick "accidental more than anything", the result of a face-off battle gone wrong.

HollywoodLifers, who are you rooting for in this series, the Predators or the Ducks? Worse yet, on the second non-goal, Nashville received a goalie interference penalty. Instead, they got angry.

"He just blows my mind", Johansen said after the Ducks' 5-3 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final on Sunday in Anaheim.

Game three is Thursday night. There's going to be no sweeps, no blowouts, both teams are here for a reason. "We knew the building was going to be loud and they were going to come hard". “But we just kept playing.”. Pittsburgh drawing "first blood" in subsequent games of this series has never been so important, and it is their pathway to winning this series and advancing to the Cup Finals for a second consecutive season. And the wait was definitely worth it.

Fans of the California team were quick to anger.

A pair of Anaheim blunders allowed Nashville to take a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Continue to improve on face-offs, get back to clogging the neutral zone and make the Ducks chase the puck instead of driving it uncharacteristically past the blueline. Like every time they stand up and they just keep cheering, keep cheering. That's not to say Kesler has been an angel, but he's flown under the officials' radar and that apparently doesn't sit well with Johansen.

Nashville's top two scorers in the playoffs are forwards Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen; their next three top point producers are all defensemen, which indicates just how balanced a team they are from a scoring perspective.

Johansen wasn't among the Predators who spoke once they landed in Nashville. Jakob Silfverberg opened the scoring at 5:15 of the first period on Anaheim's first shot of the game. Cody McLeod immediately jumped in to his teammates defence, picking a fight with Boll. Perry, shooting from just below the Nashville goal line, bounced a shot off the skate of Rinne and into the net.

Johansen still finished the game with a goal and an assist, but with the series heading back to Nashville and the Predators getting last change, it will be interesting to see how much coach Peter Laviolette tries to get his top young center away from Kesler and his antagonistic style.

Another time, Anaheims Brandon Montour fanned on a shot that snuck underneath Rinnes pads.

Gibson was helpless on the game victor, which was set up when a shot by Ekholm hit teammate Viktor Arvidsson and caromed to Josi in the right circle.

Anaheim barely had more possession 52% to 48%. The Predators outshot the Ducks 28-to-13 after 40 minutes — the Ducks only had four shots in the second period —but it was not until the third period when Forsberg finally timed the game.

The Tennessee Titans also showed out in a big way, as quarterback Marcus Mariota and the offensive line pumped pumped up the fans and added to the atmosphere of Game Three.

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