Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
Sport | By Dustin Murphy

Ducks eager for rematch with Rinne's Predators in West final

Ducks eager for rematch with Rinne's Predators in West final

In their first ever Western Conference Final, Nashville has a 1-0 series lead over the Anaheim Ducks. The late-season acquisition has played in a Game 7 seven times in his career, most among the Ducks.

Here's a look at the teams squaring off in the Western Conference Final.

Nashville at Anaheim, 6:30 p.m.

The Nashville Predators have not been bashful about their playoff status.

If Anaheim couldn't match Nashville's speed, the Ducks made sure they matched their physicality.

"You look out for the fact they're not coming back or being able to adapt", said Silverstone.

The victor will play for the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup.

Consider that 25 different goaltenders started at least one game for the Oilers from the start of the 2007-08 season (the beginning of the post-season drought) until Talbot's arrival before the start of last season. 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. While Neal scored the victor, he was only open to score on P.K. Subban's pass because the defenseman froze the entire Anaheim defense with a picture-perfect shot fake.

The two teams are meeting in the postseason for the third time, including the past two seasons - series won by the Predators due in large part to the standout play from goalie Pekka Rinne.

"We expected them to come out hard, but we knew we had to be a little more aggressive tonight than we were in the last couple of games", Crosby said.

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Big-game resilience hasn't always been Anaheim's strength during the past half-decade. The teams were a combined 0-for-10 with the extra man on Friday, but the Predators were worse of the two as they failed to capitalize on their five chances, including a two-man advantage for almost 1:30 in the waning minutes of the third period. Nashville made quick work of the heavily favoured Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round and then wasted the St. Louis Blues in the second round then played a textbook series opening road game against the Ducks who had to have been exhausted after a seven game series with the young and speedy Oilers. But I thought the five-on-three last night, that was a huge, huge spot in the game.

"We're just confident in our group", forward Austin Watson told the Tennessean after his goal early in the second period of Game 1 gave the Predators a 2-1 lead.

The Ducks ended their ignominious streak after the tense final minutes of a strong defensive performance to back Gibson's best game of the postseason. The Predators hadn't allowed four goals in any game during their excellent Stanley Cup playoff run before Anaheim finally got rolling for its sellout crowd.

The Predators had a pretty poor showing on the power play in the opening game of the series.

Getzlaf ended a monster series without a point on his 32nd birthday, but he contributed to a stellar defensive effort against National Hockey League scoring champion Connor McDavid, who went scoreless in Game 7 and managed just five points in the series.

Nashville lost two of three to Anaheim in the regular season, one in a shootout.

The Preds went on to take game two against the Blackhawks 5-0, but fell to the Blues 3-2 in the second game. "We have a lot of (defensemen) that can jump up in the play". The first two games were blowouts. As Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle had said, "I think that grasped the world's attention or the hockey world's attention when they eliminated Chicago in four straight".

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Ducks - D Kevin Bieksa (Questionable, lower body), RW Patrick Eaves (Questionable, lower body), RW Logan Shaw (Questionable, lower body), D Simon Despres (Out Indefinitely, concussion), D Clayton Stoner (Out Indefinitely, abdominal). Game time was scheduled for 6pm... puck drop wasn't scheduled until close to 6:20pm... coverage picked up at 6:20-ish... and it appeared that the game was held up in order for NBC to join it... not a single second of game action was missed... but the whining on Twitter about it was unbelievable.

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