May 12, 2017
James Neal scored 9:24 into overtime, and the Predators defeated the Ducks 3-2 in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Nashville leads the best-of-seven series 1-0.
Neal took a cross-ice pass from P.K. Subban and fired a one-timer that deflected into the net. The puck was redirected off the head of Anaheim’s Corey Perry, who was sprawling to block the shot, which then flew past goaltender John Gibson.
The Ducks had to deal with a very quick turnaround to play game 1 after defeating the Oilers less than 48 hours earlier in game 7 of their second round series.
Anaheim trailed 2-1 heading into the 3rd period, but Hampus Lindholm tied the game 2-2 after snapping a shot from the blue line past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Rinne made 27 saves on the night for the Preds. He also repeatedly handled the puck very effectively around the net, and passed the puck quickly up to his defenseman and forwards, making it difficult for the Ducks to generate sustained pressure.
The Preds took a 2-1 lead less than 3 minutes in to the 2nd period. Austin Watson fired a one-timer off a great cross-ice pass from Ryan Johansen, which deflected off of Sami Vatanen and into the net. It was Watson’s first-career playoff goal.
Gibson made 43 saves on the night for the Ducks, including 14 in a busy 1st period. Both teams traded goals in the first twenty minutes. Jakob Silfverberg fired a snap shot that beat Rinne to the blocker-side. The Predators tied it a little more than 7 minutes later on a goal by Filip Forsberg. The Ducks turned the puck over, caused by the pressure of Forsberg, who tipped in a shot past Gibson moments later.
Game 2 of the series will be on Sunday afternoon at the Honda Center. The Ducks will try to even the series before heading to Nashville for games 3 and 4.