Johansen and Kesler take spotlight in Western Conference Final

Posted May 24, 2017

While Gibson turned aside 30 shots for the 5-3 win in Game 2, Rinne gave up a howler to Nick Ritchie on the game-winning goal.

Nashville got off to a 2-0 start in Game 2 thanks to Ryan Johansen and James Neal scoring.

It's no secret the Predators' top line of Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson is relied on to produce offensively. Ondrej Kase trickled one under Rinne's left pad and over the goal line to make it 3-3 at 10:41 of the second period.

"Our fans, I really didn't think they could bring it to a new level, but they did tonight", said Predators defenseman Roman Josi, who scored the winning goal with 2:43 remaining. Forsberg collected the rebound of Ryan Ellis' shot not far from the Anaheim net and threw the puck into a crowded crease, scoring for the third consecutive game.

On Anaheim's side, the Ducks must alleviate the pressure on Gibson, who has mostly stood tall to slow a wild Preds offense. Anaheim's penalty kill, which began the Western Conference final at 69 percent, performed well in Game 1, but that's a potential weakness that Nashville should try to exploit.

Nashville wasn't going to be a picture-perfect team throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so a stinker was bound to happen sooner or later.

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. However in the 2017 NHL Playoffs that was not the case as the Ducks were able to secure game two at home.

The Anaheim Ducks look to regain home ice advantage and take a solid 2-1 series lead with a victory here. Just two days after finishing off the Oilers in the second round, Anaheim struggled to keep up at times in its second conference finals appearance in three years.

Welcome to the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, in which the Anaheim Ducks have proven to be kings of the comeback. Not only did the Predators kill off the penalty, they came back and eventually scored on a power play of their own to defeat the Ducks 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Add in a dose of heavy physicality, more so than we saw in Game 1, and the Predators were effectively drawn off the style of game that they prefer to play into an environment that the Ducks excel in.

"We understand, they wait", Malkin said.

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. "You get some momentum right away, for sure", said Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm, who collected a pair of assists."But we know we haven't done nothing yet". "We have to clean up. puck management and turning pucks over", Blashill said.

What's Next: The series shifts to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for Game 3, which will be played Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

"Starts in the playoffs are huge", Anaheim defenceman Cam Fowler said.

That would set up overtime in Game 1, where Bobby Ryan ended things with a pretty breakaway goal at 4:59 to give Ottawa the series lead. Goaltender Matt Murray won the Cup a year ago and was the No. 1 of the present and future, so Rutherford took calls on Marc-Andre Fleury that "didn't go very far" before holding on to him. I hated that they lost the second, but now they're coming home with it split one, one. He's just ... he thinks he's getting under guys' skin but he's just ...