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Stanley Cup playoffs: Josi's late goal gives Predators 2-1 series lead

20 May 2017

Two days after Nashville's 3-2 overtime victory at Honda Center in the series opener, Johansen and Neal scored in the opening 8:32 of Game 2.

Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson scored in regulation for the Predators, who improved to 9-2 in this National Hockey League postseason. The Under is 3-0-2 in Nashville's five home playoff games to this point, with the trends pointing toward a lower scoring pair of games coming up in Music City between the Ducks and Predators in this series.

Vatanen, Jakob Silfverberg and Ondrej Kase also scored for the Ducks before Antoine Vermette added an empty-netter.

But the four teams left vying for the Stanley Cup this spring - the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in the East and Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks in the West - all made a handful of significant trades to get to this point. I say this since the Predators in the first round of the 2016 NHL Playoffs won the first two games in Anaheim.

Laviolette admitted however that he had wondered if the Ducks would be able to defend their lead after watching Gibson's display in goal.

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With the series now tied at 1, the Ducks will head to Nashville for Game 3 on Tuesday at the raccous Bridgestone Arena. Hampus Lindholm scored for his first goal of the playoffs to even the score.

We're willing to bet those weren't the first or last tall boys the guys put down on Tuesday night.

"I think they believed that they were playing a decent game, and if we just stayed with it that we would eventually get one to drop and then see where it goes from there".

It was somewhat humourous - and just a tad premature - when a reporter asked Anaheim Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle if Sunday night's game was of the "must-win" variety.

Vatanen ripped a shot over the shoulder of Rinne late in the first period and Silfverberg one-timed a handsome pass from Rickard Rakell from in close just 39 seconds into the second. Shots and hits can be inflated or undercounted by statisticians, but the Predators clearly carried the play in the second period, when they held the Ducks to four shots - but one of those was Perry's sharp-angled goal against Pekka Rinne, at 15:35, during a power play they gained when Nash-ville's Cody McLeod got an instigator penalty for fighting Ducks forward Jared Boll.

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"I can tell you that I just saw him on the plane, and he's composed", Laviolette said. His mental lapse on the final goal put a damper on an otherwise excellent performance that kept the Ducks in game three. Game 4 takes place in Nashville on Thursday.

The Predators have been a model of consistency while going 9-2 in the post-season, and they think much of the credit should be placed on a defensive corps that might be the best in the playoffs.

In yet another physical game, the first period was relatively uneventful with neither team scoring and only one penalty against Anaheim. I like Nashville to get the job done here and break the 1-1 series tie. Once ahead 2-0, there was a genuine feeling that asking the Ducks to score three on Rinne every night was the recipe for a very short series.

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.

The power play has also been affected by his absence and has notched a 0-for-10 mark in the Penguins' last three games. "Whether it's overtime or third period or we're leading or we're trailing".

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They don't ask how, they just ask how many.

Stanley Cup playoffs: Josi's late goal gives Predators 2-1 series lead