Game 3 line rushes: Ducks vs. Predators

Ruben Ruiz
May 19, 2017

Jakob Silfverberg opened the scoring at 5:15 of the first period on Anaheim's first shot of the game.

That the Johansen line has combined for three goals and eight points in two games on the road, where they have seen a steady diet of slashes and hacks from Ryan Kesler and the Ducks' shutdown line, has been even more impressive.

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

Stephen Curry scored 40 points and hit a tying 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining, and the Golden State Warriors rallied from way down after Kawhi Leonard was lost to an ankle injury to beat the San Antonio Spurs 113-111 on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

Rather than balking at the challenge, the Nashville Predators responded to a 1-0 deficit and a great John Gibson performance by just imposing their will in an eventual 2-1 Game 3 win.

For good measure, Antoine Vermette added an empty-net goal with 44 seconds to play. Pekka Rinne struggled in net for Nashville, stopping just 22-of-26 shots. 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.

"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.

Anaheims Ryan Kesler was booed nearly every time he touched the puck on Tuesday night, but most of the venom during the third period was saved for referees Brad Meier and Wes McCauley, who had the audacity to disallow two Nashville goals.

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"I think he's been our best player in the first two games, especially the first period last night he was dominating out there", he said. He's eager to remind everyone that he's only one component of a defensive group that has driven the Predators to these unprecedented post-season heights.

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Nashville.

"The one thing that's been consistent with him (is) he's been a type of Energizer Bunny", said coach Randy Carlyle, speaking of Ondrej Kase and inviting a fuzzy fictional character into a very cold and real ice hockey showdown. The officials missed that one, as well as a two-hander to the back of the legs of Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban late in the third period.

Nick Ritchie's tiebreaking goal at 17:07 of the second period was a wrister from the left faceoff circle that flew over Rinne's blocker into the net's roof. "We don't want to put the pressure that you people put on it that it's end-all", said Carlyle. Quite possibly. The matchup of both Kesler and Johansen will certainly draw the attention of the officials as this series continues.

“I think were a confident team, ” said Josi. We just kept coming at them and had a lot of chances.

Kesler leaned against a wall in the hallway outside the Anaheim dressing room and said he laughed when he heard Johansen's comments.

"Our players are really good at not fearing the outcome, and we play the way we play", Boucher said. And they were just getting started.

The Pittsburgh Penguins (2008) and Los Angeles Kings (2012-13) had nine-game streaks in recent years, but not since the Colorado Avalanche in 1996 and 1997 has a team gotten to double digits.

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