The Ducks seem to be talking about the need to get a fast start more often then not now these days. Several games of lazy first periods have put the Ducks in multiple holes this season.
If one more Duck talks about needing a fast start I may kick a puppy.
After a 1st period on Friday in which the Ducks looked weary and hungover from a Game 7 victory against the Edmonton Oilers, the team again looked like they had just barely awoken from a lazy Sunday afternoon nap. Nashville dominated play with little to no scoring chances in the early going.
The Predators would make the Ducks pay when Brandon Montour jumped up on a play and didn’t get back in time. Viktor Arvidsson backhanded a pass to Ryan Johansen behind the defense who put one past John Gibson for the game’s opening goal.
Matters would be made worse for the Ducks when noted non-blinker user James Neal had a clear path to walk to the net and put an easy one past Gibson on the power play.
Just when it seemed like the Ducks were about to throw in the towel on the period and get out in a 2 goal deficit, Sami Vatanen launched an absolute bomb from the left circle to beat Rinne short side with just a minute left. The goal ended an 0-20 power play drought for the Ducks. Hockey game.
The Ducks would continue their “40 minutes of hockey is all we need” play when Rickard Rakell delivered an absolute insane pass from the far boards to Jakob Silfverberg who laid it up to tie the game. The goal tied Silfverberg with Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the playoff lead with 9.
The Ducks would make another mistake, however, when Silfverberg completely missed a pass to Getzlaf at the point that led to a Arvidsson chance going the other way. John Gibson bit way too hard on the try and Arvidsson attempted a wraparound. He couldn’t complete it but Filip Forsberg followed up and put it in the open net with Gibson sprawled on the ice.
Halfway through the period, the Ducks did what they do best and created havoc in front of the Nashville net. Ondrej Kase put one under the right left pad of Pekka Rinne that just barely squeaked over the goal line and tied the game again at 3. That was his first career playoff goal. The 205th overall pick (7th round) in 2014 has injected some speedy life into Anaheim. At least some things are good when the Gulls are eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs!
Before the period ended, Nick Ritchie continued his resurgence in the playoffs with the wicked wrister everyone knows he has by sending one off the mask and in to give the Ducks the lead.
The Ducks picked up where they left off in the 2nd by continuing to use their mobile blue line to push the Nashville defensemen back into the zone. Nashville made a few hard pushes in the second half of the period, at one point having multiple shots blocked by Ryan Kesler in front of a relatively open net with Gibson again sprawled on the ice.
Anaheim would deliver the dagger, however, when Carlyle decided to put three centers on the ice with Antoine Vermette taking the draw. After winning the face-off to Flower, he flipped the puck to Getzlaf and gloved it down to pass it back to Vermette barreling up center ice. Vermette put the puck into the empty net to secure the 5-3 win.
With the series now tied at 1, the Ducks will head to Nashville for Game 3 on Tuesday at the raccous Bridgestone Arena. Luckily, the Ducks thrive in rowdy arenas. Get ready for another insane game.