Ducks avoid meltdown, edge Preds in OT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After the Nashville Predators concocted a stunning comeback to force overtime Thursday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the script almost demanded they finish the deal.
The Anaheim Ducks' Corey Perry had a different idea of justice.
Perry's shot from the right-wing boards at 10:33 of the extra period was inadvertently deflected in by Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, who was defending Nate Thompson in front of the net, giving Anaheim a 3-2 win at Bridgestone Arena and evening the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
Game 5 is Saturday in Anaheim, the Ducks having lifted home-ice advantage despite coughing up a 2-0 lead in the final 6 1/2 minutes of regulation in front of a Predators-record home crowd of 17,423. The loss snapped a 10-game home winning streak in the playoffs for Nashville.
John Gibson made 32 saves in goal for Anaheim, while Pekka Rinne stopped 34 of 37 shots for Nashville.
Anaheim dominated the first period, and initiated scoring at 11:30. Rickard Rakell took advantage of a bad Nashville line change, ripping a slapper past the blocker side of Rinne for his seventh goal of the playoffs.
Nick Ritchie made it 2-0 Anaheim at the 10:22 mark of the second period, wiring a wrister by Rinne from the right faceoff circle for his fourth postseason marker. The goal was set up by Nashville's inability to convert a breakout pass from behind its net.
Subban pulled the Predators within 2-1 at 13:33 of the third period, rifling a slapper from just inside the blue line at the right point for his second playoff goal, eight seconds after the second of four Nashville power plays ended.
The Ducks killed off 91 seconds of 5-on-3 time in the last five minutes, but the Predators kept pressing and forced overtime at 19:25. Filip Forsberg, stationed at the left post, poked home his own rebound to cap the team's second comeback from a two-goal deficit in the third period this postseason.
NOTES: Anaheim D Kevin Bieksa drew into the lineup for Game 4 after sitting out the last nine games due to a lower-body injury. ... Nashville RW PA Parenteau replaced LW Harry Zolnierczyk on the fourth line, playing for just the third time in the postseason. ... The Ducks scratched C Sam Carrick, D Korbinian Holzer, D Clayton Stoner, RW Patrick Eaves (lower-body) and C Logan Shaw (lower-body). ... Predators scratches in addition to Zolnierczyk were D Anthony Bitetto, RW Craig Smith (undisclosed), D Brad Hunt, C Frederick Gaudreau and C Vernon Fiddler.