ANAHEIM, Calif. — With Patrick Eaves injured and Corey Perry continuing to be a shell of his former goal-scoring self, someone not named Ryan Getzlaf would have to start scoring if the Anaheim Ducks had any chance at beating the Nashville Predators.
Sure veterans Sami Vatanen and Jakob Silfverberg chipped in a goal each, but it was two of the youngest Ducks who’d have the biggest impact in Anaheim’s Game 2 victory.
As seems to be the norm now, the Ducks don’t start playing hockey until at least 15 minutes have past in the first period. The Predators were leading 2-0 when Ondrej Kase, one of three 21-year-old Anaheim players in the lineup, drew a tripping penalty on Matt Irwin.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — They may not admit it, but the Anaheim Ducks are tired. It showed in the first period of the Western Conference Final against the Nashville Predators.
“We weren’t ready to start the game,” said defenseman Hampus Lindholm after the Ducks overtime loss. “We lost the game in the first period. They were on us the whole period. We didn’t really get to breathe.”
Over the past 15 days, the Ducks have played seven hockey games; in addition to trekking back and forth between Southern California and Edmonton a couple times. Dead legs aren’t unexpected, but they’re coming at the worst time of the year.
Earlier today we gave you the breakdown of the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators and predicted who will win. It’s time to look at five big questions facing the two teams in the Western Conference Final.
1– Who wins the battle of Ryan versus the Ryans?
The Nashville Predators brought in Ryan Johansen for situations just like the one they’re about to face. The Anaheim Ducks have a two-headed snarling, half-bald monster at center with Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf. A duo Johansen became acquainted with last post-season.
In the three meetings between the two during the regular season, match-intensive coach Randy Carlyle opted to roll out the Kesler line whenever Johansen hit the ice. Since Kesler is the pre-eminent shut-down center for Anaheim, it’s not a stretch to assume Carlyle will put Kesler on the ice against Johansen whenever possible.
Throughout the Nashville Predators playoff run, Pekka Rinne has been a steadying force in the net. Calm, cool, and collected in even the toughest games.
… until Game 7 versus the San Jose Sharks.
Patrick Marleau scored a top shelf goal on a back and forth passing play with Logan Couture. With 16:06 left in the third period and the Sharks now leading 5-0, the goal was the cement on top of the dirt on top of the nail in the coffin.
Rinne looked calm at first and then he went nuts. Slamming his stick against the goal posts and flinging it behind him as he skated off to be replaced by Carter Hutton.