The Nashville Predators won their third straight Game 1 of these playoffs. They beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in OT. Nashville is now 3-1 when the opposition scores 1st in this playoff season. The Preds used another strong outing from their d-core and Pekka Rinne to take a 1-0 lead in the series. This series was billed as a physical series coming in. There were not a ton of hits in this one, but there were some really big hits.
Nashville came out strong in this game, firing shots on John Gibson at will. By the time Anaheim got their first shot on net, the Predators were outshooting them 11-1. Unfortunately, that first shot was a beauty by Jakob Silverberg to put the Ducks up 1-0 in the game. A little over 7 minutes later, Filip Forsberg would force a turnover at the Ducks blueline and then finish the deal tipping in a shot from Matt Irwin to tie the game up at 1. Nashville would lose the draws in the first period 16-6, but somehow outshoot Anaheim 15-6 in the period.
Pekka Rinne would settle into the game in the 2nd period, stopping 11 Duck shots. While the guys in front of him would continue to pepper Gibson, firing 17 more shots on goal in the period. Gibson played great in this game and kept Anaheim in it. Austin Watson was able to break through at the 2:42 mark of the period. Watson fired a shot that was going wide, but hit Sami Vatanen in the head and went into the net for the 2-1 Nashville lead.
The Predators seemed to come out a little flat in the 3rd and the Ducks were looking to get back into the game. They would score the game tying goal at 7:21 of the period off the stick of Hampus Lindholm. There would be some good back and forth as the game went on. Pekka Rinne made a few huge saves late in the game to keep the game tied. Off to overtime we would go.
Nashville took over the overtime session. They would outshoot the Ducks 7-2 in a little over 10 minutes of play. Mattias Ekholm would create havoc for the Ducks by carrying the puck right to the net. This would lead to James Neal potting a great fake shot pass from P.K. Subban. The shot would hit Corey Perry on the way to the net and bounce over he and Gibson and into the net for the game winner.
After Watson’s goal the Predators now have 15 different goal scorers in this series. As for the defense, last night they would finish with 4 assists. Ryan Johansen was also a force with 2 assists and he went 8 for 13 in the faceoff circle. Add to all that another game from Rinne where he gave up 2 or less goals and you have a recipe for success for Nashville.
Game 2 is Sunday night in Anaheim at 6:30pm CT. It can be seen on NBCSN.
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