May 14, 2017
Nick Ritchie scored with less than 3 minutes left in the second period to put the Ducks ahead for good, and Anaheim defeated the Predators 5-3 in game 2 of their best-of-seven series on Sunday night at the Honda Center. The series is now tied 1-1.
Ritchie fired a shot from the left circle, which appeared to glance off the mask of goalie Pekka Rinne and into the net. The Anaheim forward also scored a game-winning goal four days ago, in game 7 of the Ducks series against Edmonton.
Rinne made 22 saves on the night for the Predators, but did not look nearly as sharp as he has throughout the playoffs.
Anaheim survived a frantic 3rd period push from the Predators. Antoine Vermette added an empty-net goal to make it 5-3 with 44 seconds left.
The Ducks trailed 2-0 to start the game. Ryan Johansen scored on a breakaway just 4:18 into the game, and then James Neal scored on a backhand shot into a wide open net in front of a screened John Gibson at the 8:32 mark.
However, the Ducks started to surge late in the 1st period. Sami Vatanen blasted a slap shot past Rinne with 1 minute left in the 1st.
Just 39 seconds into the 2nd period, Jakob Silfverberg tied the game on a brilliant cross-ice pass from Rickard Rakell. Silfverberg caught the Predators defense standing around, and found the puck on his stick with a wide open net to shoot in.
The Predators would regain the lead near the 8:00 minute mark of the period when Filip Forsberg tapped in a rebound after a wrap-around attempt by Viktor Arvidsson, which left Gibson scrambling to cover an open corner of the net.
However, Ondrej Kase tied the game with his first career playoff goal at the 10:41 mark. Kase pounced on a rebound in front of Rinne, which slide underneath the goaltenders’ legs, and barely crossed the goal line.
Richie’s goal capped the thrilling 19-minute surge for Anaheim, which saw them score four goals. The Predators hadn’t allowed four goals in any playoff game this season prior to Sunday night.
Gibson made 30 saves on the night, including withstanding a several flurries in front of the net by Nashville in the 3rd period.
Game 3 of the series will be in Nashville on Tuesday night.