NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nashville Predators are so confident right now that not even having two goals in eight seconds waved off for goaltender interference can shake them.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS: A game within the game is developing between Nashville's Ryan Johansen and Anaheim's Ryan Kesler, with the Predators' top line center bristling at what he considers suspect tactics by his counterpart.
The Predators grabbed a 2-1 lead in the series with their 10th straight home win in the postseason going back to last season.
Nashville took a 1-0 lead at 4:18 in the first period when Viktor Arvidsson sprung Ryan Johansen on a breakaway.
Nick Ritchie broke a tie late in the second period, and Anaheim roared back from that early two-goal deficit for a 5-3 victory Sunday night.
For good measure, Antoine Vermette added an empty-net goal with 44 seconds to play.
The Nashville Predators host the Anaheim Ducks in game three of the NHL Western Conference final on May 16 at 8pm EST. Forsberg's goal snapped Gibson's streak of 51 saves in a row dating back to Game 2 of the series. John Gibson stopped 30 shots in the winning effort.
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Gibson handled 38 shots for the Ducks, who stay in Nashville for Game 4 on Thursday. "But we know how important these games are and every one gets more important as we go forward and tonight's response after getting down 2-0 was a character builder for our group". And I think we've been doing that.
Subban for Weber looked like a long-term steal for the Predators as they got a younger, more mobile puck-moving defenseman in part because Montreal preferred a safer style of play. In their Game 2 triumph, Vatanen scored while Cam Fowler had two assists and Shea Theodore, Josh Manson and Brandon Montour each had one. He's done it a handful of times in the postseason, and I don't think he's done yet.
Game 2 was another tight, low-scoring game, but the ice was clearly tilted Pittsburgh's way in the third period. "We don't want to put the pressure that you people put on it that it's end-all", said Carlyle. They won't be able to shut it down completely, but it's a necessity to match Anaheim's push with one of their own. If they win two games on the road they can close out the series in six games.
Even in uncharted territory for this franchise, the Predators are still rolling through the Stanley Cup playoffs with their distinct combination of smash and flash. And when we say big, we mean they were literally big guys. We just kept coming at them and had a lot of chances.
Eastern Conference finals: Penguins at Senators - Ottawa have effectively deployed their methodical trap system in all but one period so far in the series, however Phil Kessel exploited that lapse and it is now a best-of-five affair. Johansen said he didn't know how anyone could cheer for a guy like that constantly prodding and poking.
"We're a confident team", Josi said. He bounced back with a far better effort in Game 3, but there were still some close calls, like when the Ducks cleared the puck the length of the ice and it almost skipped over Rinnes pads at the last moment.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Gibson is getting better as the pressure mounts. We just really keep the same approach.