Ducks' Ryan Kesler now knows he's rattled Preds' Johansen


The Predators allowed more than three goals in this postseason for the first time in Sunday's 5-3 setback but can take solace in the fact that the next two games are at Bridgestone Arena, where they have won nine in a row in the playoffs since back-to-back defeats against Anaheim a year ago.

Game three of the NHL Western Conference final series moves to Nashville as the Predators and the Anaheim Ducks are tied 1-1. He entered Game 2 of the Western Conference Final with a 0.950 save percentage, a 1.41 goals against average and nine wins (not to mention three assists) - all tops in the National Hockey League. Johnny Gaudreau finished with two goals to take his tournament tally to six, and an assist, while Jimmy Howard made 19 saves in his fourth start for the Americans, who stretched their winning run to five games. The win gives Nashville a 2-1 series lead.

Nashville captured Game 1 with a 3-2 overtime victory on James Neal's goal.

The two centers have taken center stage as they trade words, elbows, and cheap shots on the ice.

The Nashville Predators certainly appeared to have an advantage over the Anaheim Ducks heading into the start of the Western Conference Final on Friday. The Subban deal has worked out just as well, with the defenceman scoring 10 goals and 40 points in 66 games this season, while assuming a shutdown role in the playoffs. "You always try to establish your home building, tough place to play".

The Ducks finally awakened at the prospect of their second straight 0-2 series deficit and replied 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.

"Our players are really good at not fearing the outcome, and we play the way we play", Boucher said.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle has made in-game adjustments with his line, with them often paying off. With his second-period goal and 35th of his playoff career, Ducks RW Corey Perry tied Teemu Selanne for second on the franchise's all-time playoff goals list. Anaheim's John Gibson played as though he were breaking in new skates.

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"Joey is one of the best centermen in the game right now, and I think if people didn't know that before the playoffs, they know that now".

It's no secret the Predators' top line of Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson is relied on to produce offensively.

It's not easy winning games when your power play isn't manufacturing points or even pressure. Prior to Sunday, Rinne had never allowed more than three goals in any game this postseason and had only allowed 16 goals in his first 11 games.

The Predators overcame back-to-back canceled-out goals in that rush to succeed, and there are at least some who wonder if they were crashing Gibson's net in a way that wasn't quite innocent.

"The penalty at the end of the first changed the game, changed the momentum", Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "We need to play the same way, and they're going to go in some time".

"You could sense going into that third period the guys were saying the right things".

"I knew at some point those pucks I'd been chasing all year long, they were going to come", Ryan said after picking up his fifth goal of the playoffs.

"It's good to get that one".