In danger of falling into an two-game hole against the Nashville Predators, the Anaheim Ducks used a second-period comeback to even the Western Conference finals. Just two days after finishing off the Oilers in the second round, Anaheim struggled to keep up at times in its second conference finals appearance in three years.
It was the fourth time Poile, whose Predators reached the conference final for the first time in franchise history, was recognized for the award. There's going to be no sweeps, no blowouts, both teams are here for a reason. "They came hard. They had their push. Obviously, we did a good job of bouncing back after last game's performance". Ondrej Kase trickled one under Rinne's left pad and over the goal line to make it 3-3 at 10:41 of the second period.
An empty-netter from Antoine Vermette in the final minute of the third period sealed the win. John Gibson made 30 saves for the Ducks.
Ryan Johansen and James Neal scored for the Predators in the first-period. Pekka Rinne recorded 22 saves.
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.
Sunday night after Game 2, Johansen sounded off about Kesler's relentless pokes and jabs. Forsberg has six goals and five assists in 13 playoff contests.
But Rinne and his teammates should get a boost from returning to Bridgestone Arena, where they have won all five postseason games this spring by a combined score of 15-6. "I don't know who was keeping it", Carlyle said, "but he better get a pair of glasses".
Vatanen was not quite so complimentary of his snipe: "I saw he was standing a little bit off the net, and I had a shot there, off the blocker side", said the product of the central Finnish town of Jyvaskyla.
Johansen gave the Ducks credit for coming back. "That's not going to go away".
They have made the most of the opportunities they've had to play at home, though.
Kesler leaned against a wall in the hallway outside the Anaheim dressing room and said he laughed when he heard Johansen's comments. Particularly on the game-winner by Nick Ritchie, a goal Rinne simply has to stop.
"You could sense going into the third period, the guys were saying the right things, they were confident", Predators coach Peter Laviolette said.
When Ottawa scores the first goal, as they did in Game 1, they can tighten the screws with their modified trap and make it hard for Pittsburgh to produce scoring chances created with their speed through the middle of the ice, which they are used to doing against many teams.
Nashville battled back to win Tuesday, with defenseman Roman Josi scoring the game-winning goal with 2:43 left in the third period on a power play. Josi ended that drought with his wrister from the right circle off an assist from Viktor Arvidsson. For Vatanen, it was his first goal of the playoffs.
Nashville was able to kill off the Anaheim Power Play with relative ease backed by an ear-splitting crowd cheering every deflection and clear.
Forsberg tied the game at one with his goal at the 3:54 mark of the third period.
"We're looking for that next play instead of putting pucks at the net", Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "He kept us in that game". "We won't get too excited". The Ducks recalled G Jhonas Enroth, LW Nic Kerdiles and C Sam Carrick from AHL San Diego.