Ducks even Western finals, top Predators 5-3

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Anaheim Ducks were down a game in the Western Conference finals and down 2-0 in Game 2 against Pekka Rinne, the most dominant goalie in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

That’s when Sami Vatanen got the puck and thought he saw a sliver of room over Rinne’s shoulder.

“So I just closed my eyes and shot it in there,” Vatanen said with his usual Finnish deadpan delivery.

After every slow start and tight game over their past month, not much can ruffle these Ducks. Once they coolly opened a crack in Rinne and the Nashville Predators, they started a deluge that evened the series.

Nick Ritchie broke a tie late in the second period, and Anaheim roared back from that early two-goal deficit for a 5-3 victory Sunday night.

Just when the Ducks appeared to be in serious danger of losing two straight home games to start their second straight series, they made a thrilling surge of four goals in less than 19 minutes.

“Everybody says we go about it the hard way, but as long as we get the job done,” shrugged John Gibson, who stopped 30 shots.

Vatanen, Jakob Silfverberg and Ondrej Kase also scored for the Ducks before Antoine Vermette added an empty-netter. The Predators hadn’t allowed four goals in any game during their excellent Stanley Cup playoff run before Anaheim got five in front of its sellout crowd.

“I wish we didn’t get down in the first place, but I think we have three or four lines that get going and just keep punching through,” Ducks forward Rickard Rakell said. “It’s almost like we feel, ‘Oh, we’ve got nothing to lose now.’ It’s almost like that’s when we play our best game. Maybe sometimes we shouldn’t wait for that to get going.”

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Nashville.

Rinne made 22 saves and Ryan Johansen, James Neal and Filip Forsberg scored for the Predators. They faced relatively little adversity while steamrolling Chicago and St. Louis in the first two rounds on the way to the first conference finals in franchise history.

Nashville has a serious challenge now, and adversity has arrived in the form of Ryan Kesler, the Ducks’ defense-minded center. Johansen had a goal and an assist, but Kesler’s well-known style of physical play already has burrowed under his skin.

“I mean, it just blows my mind watching,” Johansen said. “I don’t know what’s going through his head over there. Like his family and his friends watching him play, I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that. It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game. I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey, and it sucks when you’ve got to pull a stick out of your groin every shift.”

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.

The Ducks eventually got around to replying with high-octane hockey — and a few fortunate bounces — that was too much even for Rinne, who hadn’t given up four goals in a game since March 13.

“The second (period), they got to control the tempo of the game and had the puck a little bit more, and obviously that plays into their hands,” Rinne said. “But we still battled back. Obviously, disappointed personally in that second period.”

Ritchie, the power forward making his first career playoff run, scored the winning goal in Game 7 against Edmonton. Four days later, he got his next major goal on an exceptional high shot that appeared to glance off Rinne’s mask on the way in.

Anaheim hung on through a frenetic third period, surviving a few mad scrambles before captain Ryan Getzlaf got his third assist of the night on Vermette’s empty-netter.

Although Honda Center was much fuller and louder than it was for the traffic-affected series opener, Johansen scored on a breakaway just 4:18 in. Neal doubled the lead on a power play with one of the easiest goals in recent NHL history, escorting the puck unimpeded into the net when Gibson completely lost sight of the play.

After Vatanen ended Anaheim’s 0-for-20 slump on the power play, Silfverberg evened it in the opening minute of the second period, cashing in Rakell’s pass for his ninth goal.

The Predators took another lead when Forsberg converted a rebound of a breakaway by speedy Viktor Arvidsson, who had two assists.

But the Ducks pulled even again on the first career playoff goal for Kase, the aggressive Czech rookie, who slipped a puck through traffic.

NOTES: The Ducks kept veteran Jared Boll in their lineup over several young prospects to replace injured F Patrick Eaves, who missed his sixth straight game. Boll, who is scoreless in four postseason games, had no goals and three assists in 51 regular-season games. … Getzlaf has 18 points in the postseason, trailing only Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (19). … Mike Trout crossed Katella Avenue to support the Ducks for the second time in three playoff games. The two-time AL MVP homered and stole two bases to help the Angels beat Detroit 4-1 earlier Sunday.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Fleury Plays Against Former Team
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal reporters David Schoen and Steve Carp recap tonight's Golden Knights game against the Pittsburg Penguins.
Fleury says playing against his former team was "different" than expected
Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury says playing against his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins was a different experience than he anticipated.
Golden Edge Look Ahead: Pittsburg Penguins
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal reporters David Schoen and Steve Carp look ahead to the Golden Knights game against the Pittsburg Penguins.
Golden Edge: Deryk Engelland Sit Down
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond sits down with Golden Knights' defensemen Deryk Engelland to talk about the fans and when he used to play for the Las Vegas Wranglers.
Marc-Andre Fleury talks about return from injury, playing Pittsburgh
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about what he expects when he plays against his former team as well as how he feels returning from a long injury layoff.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose In Overtime To Hurricanes
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal reporters David Schoen and Steve Carp go over the Golden Knights loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Engelland: The lack of intensity cost the Golden Knights
Golden Knights Deryk Engelland says that the team's lack of intensity coming out of the gate against the Carolina Hurricanes cost them.
Gallant on the Golden Knight loss to the Hurricanes
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team's loss to the Carolina Hurricanes which snapped a 4 game win streak.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on injured forward Will Carrier
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, on injured forward William Carrier. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on the upcoming 5-game homestand
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, about the importance of the upcoming five-game homestand that starts Tuesday vs. Carolina. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on his concussion
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks to the media on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, about why he stayed in the game Oct. 13 and about his concussion symptoms after second-period collision. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on his return
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks to the media Monday, Dec. 11, about how hard it was to be away from his teammates while he was injured. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights marketing VP says team has big plans to grow the game
Golden Knights marketing VP Kim Frank said the initiatives already launched by the team have been well-received. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local youth hockey coach impressed with Golden Knights’ commitment
Local youth hockey coach Jeff Bruckner is impressed with the Golden Knights' commitment to growing the game. Bruckner says the Golden Knights wants more kids to play. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Murray Craven confident youth hockey will grow in Southern Nevada
The Golden Knights senior VP Murray Craven says patience is the key to long-term success. Craven says he is confident that youth hockey will grow in Southern Nevada. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Sweep Two-Game Road Trip
Review-Journal reporter David Schoen recaps tonight's Golden Knights game against the Dallas Stars.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on Saturday's win over Dallas
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on the team's win over Dallas on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights' Gerard Gallant on sitting Shea Theodore at Dallas
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on Shea Theodore, who was scratched Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, against Dallas. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on Friday's 4-3 shootout win at Nashville
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on Friday's 4-3 shootout win at Nashville. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith on Malcolm Subban
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith on Malcolm Subban's performance Friday at Nashville. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith on his shootout goal
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith on his shootout goal Friday at Nashville. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Win In Overtime Against Predators
Review-Journal reporter David Schoen recaps the Golden Knights game against the Nashville Predators.
By the numbers: Expectations, challenges for Las Vegas’ WNBA team
The newly relocated Las Vegas WNBA franchise will begin play in the 2018 season. New owners MGM Resorts will integrate a professional franchise into Las Vegas’ busy sports landscape that’s shared with the 51s, Lights FC, Golden Knights and Raiders. Here are some of the expectations and challenges the team will have. 1. Ticket prices: The key to any sports franchise is selling season tickets and group outings. For Las Vegas’ team, that starts with locals. "(You don’t) just open the doors and tell everybody you’ve got a game and stand there waiting to sell tickets," 51s president Don Logan said. "You’ve got to get out, you’ve got to get out into the community and you’ve got to do everything we do. There’s no easy way." Last year, San Antonio charged $12 to $165 for single-game tickets for 17 home games. 2. Creating an identity: Coach Bill Laimbeer inherits a team from San Antonio that hasn’t made the playoffs or had a winning season since 2012. Las Vegas' team is also a franchise that lost its first 14 games last season before finishing a league-worst 8-26. 3. Patience will be required: Will they have to fill all 12,000 seats at Mandalay Bay for the season to be deemed successful? "They have to be realistic," Connecticut Sun CEO Mitchell Etess said. "If they could get 5,000 bodies into every single game, that would be pretty good for the first year."
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on facing Nashville
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on facing the Nashville Predators on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Important road trip coming up
Bryan Salmond, Steve Carp and David Schoen discuss the Golden Knights recent overtime victory, how their defense is holding up as well as what to expect on the upcoming road trip.
Golden Edge: Knights secure first shootout win
Bryan Salmond, David Schoen and Steve Carp discuss the Golden Knights' shootout win over Anaheim — the first in franchise history — including Malcolm Subban's overtime performance, Alex Tuch's game-winner and upcoming games on the road against Nashville and Dallas.
Malcolm Subban enjoyed getting the win in the shootout
Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban stopped all three Anaheim shooters to get the 4-3 win Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena. (Steve Carp/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Alex Tuch grateful for redemption in Golden Knights shootout win
Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch scored the only goal in the shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on injured forward David Perron
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on injured forward David Perron after practice Tuesday at City National Arena. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights forward David Perron on his collision with San Jose's Timo Meier
Injured Golden Knights forward David Perron talks about his collision with San Jose's Timo Meier. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
VGK University: Introduction to hockey, and much more
Vegas Golden Knights officials Misha Donskov and Murray Craven chat about VGK University, a five-course instructional for hockey fans, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Dec. 3, 2017. (Ron Kantowski/ Las Vegas Review Journal)
VGK University: Introduction to hockey, and much more
Vegas Golden Knights officials Misha Donskov and Murray Craven chat about VGK University, a five-course instructional for hockey fans, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Dec. 3, 2017. (Ron Kantowski/ Las Vegas Review Journal)
Nate Quote
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt is leading the team in time on ice. He talks about the adjustment to the style of play in the Pacific Division, as well as his pregame "Magic trick" ritual. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights goaltender Maxime Lagace on starting in goal
Golden Knights goaltender Maxime Lagace talks about his journey to becoming the starting goaltender Saturday, Nov. 12, 2017 at City National Arena. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt talks about goaltender Maxime Lagace at City National Arena. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights forward William Karlsson
Golden Knights forward William Karlsson on the team's blue-collar mentality. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about his team's accountability in the locker room. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights players stand ready to help Las Vegas heal following Sunday's mass shootings
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Jon Merrill discusses what it means to him and the team to offer help to the community following the mass shooting that took place on Sunday.
TOP NEWS
ad-infeed_1x2_1
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like