Three to two. That’s what the series would have been at, in favor of the Ducks, had they kept the score 3 to 2 in the third period tonight. Instead, they let Shane Weber score off a faceoff win, with less than a minute left in the third period. The Preds then went on to score again only a minute and fifty seven seconds into overtime for the Preds’ first Game Five playoff win in franchise history.
This game was in stark contrast to Wednesday night’s Game Four, in which the Ducks chased Pekka Rinne from the goal in a 6-3 win. After Selanne went on a tirade on Tuesday, saying the Preds “wanted it more,” and the Ducks’ Game Three play was “embarrassing,” the Ducks came back and went two for six on their power plays and tied the club record for goals in a playoff game. Cam Fowler had a PPG and an assist and the Rocket Richard winner, Corey Perry, had a SHG and two assists. The Ducks also outshot the Preds for the first time in this series (38-22). Not even the performance of Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill during the first period intermission could motivate the Preds to net a goal after the second period. Perhaps it was the loss of the Preds’ team leading point earner, Martin Erat, who left the game in the second period after being leveled by Jarkko Ruutu. Ruutu was suspended for tonight’s game for his “late hit” and Erat did not travel to Anaheim with the Preds.
Tonight’s game was not without its share of highlights, however. The Preds, Kevin Klein started off the scoring, just eight minutes in, taking a pass from Tootoo who beat Lilja trying to sneak up on offense and then fell down trying to come back on defense. According to the commentators, 82% of playoff teams that score first, win the game. Not wanting to be on the losing end of that statistic, the Ducks came back to tie the game with a scrappy goal by Jason Blake who managed to push the puck over the line through the legs of Rinne in the second. Trying to solidify a lead, Bobby Ryan had a sick unassisted goal, just 40 seconds into the third period. Ryan went coast to coast on a turnover weaving through the Predator players like they were orange traffic cones. The goal ended up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays just minutes after the game ended.
Chants of “Bob-by! Bob-by! Bob-by!” were not enough for the Ducks to hold onto the lead, however, as Joel Ward shoveled a shot off the boards, received his rebound on the other side of the goal, and then put it in the back of the net. Selanne responded with less than six minutes remaining to give the lead back to the Ducks, but with a minute left and an empty net goal, the Ducks were called for icing, they lost the faceoff, and Shane Weber blasted a shot in to the back of the goal for the tie.
The rest is history as the Predators took a three to two series lead with Game Six heading back to the Bridgestone Arena on Sunday at 3:00.
(Congrats to the Buffalo Sabres who beat the Fliers in overtime tonight to take a 3-2 series lead!)
About the Author
Written by KARLY TAMBARA