Anaheim (1-1) at Nashville (1-1)
When: Tuesday, May 16th 2017
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
The Anaheim Ducks look to keep the momentum from yet another rally in this postseason when they visit the Nashville Predators for Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals series at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night. Anaheim erased an early two-goal deficit to avoid falling into a 2-0 series hole Sunday night, following a pattern that saw it storm back from three goals down against Calgary and Edmonton in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Nick Ritchie scored the tie-breaking goal late in the second period, and the host Ducks evened their series with the Predators with a 5-3 victory. Jakob Silfverberg, Sami Vatanen, and Ondrej Kase also scored while the Ducks finally got to goaltender Pekka Rinne with four goals in 19 minutes. John Gibson stopped 30 shots, and Antoine Vermette had an empty-net goal to finish off Game 2. Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle made a calculated gamble in Game 2 when, with his team trailing by two goals, he shuffled his lines and replaced Corey Perry with the rookie Kase on the No. 1 unit with captain Ryan Getzlaf and Ritchie. Getzlaf collected three assists and Ritchie scored the decisive goal, his second-game winner in three contests.
The Predators allowed more than three goals in this postseason for the first time in on Sunday but will now head back to Bridgestone Arena for the next two games, where they have won nine in a row in the playoffs since back-to-back defeats against Anaheim a year ago. Ryan Johansen got the scoring started on a break-away in the first period, then had some choice words towards Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler after the game. “I don’t know what’s going through his head over there. Like, his family and his friends watching him play, I don’t know how you can cheer for a guy like that,” Johansen said. “I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey, and it (stinks) when you’ve got to pull a stick out of your groin every shift.” Johansen set up another Sunday to give him 13 points, tying for the most in a postseason in franchise history. Neal has scored in five of the past seven games, including both in Anaheim. Despite the poor outing by Rinne, he still leads all goalies this postseason in both goals against average (1.62) and save percentage (.942).
Anaheim has been a beast on the road this playoff run and they won two at Bridgestone last postseason, but the Predators have been feeding off their home crowd and will play their first ever conference finals game there. I’m taking the Predators in this one. Rinne will bounce back.
Pick: Predators -150
HEAD TO HEAD
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