Ducks bounce back, shut out Predators to cut series deficit

Nashville, TN, United States / The Game Nashville
Ducks bounce back, shut out Predators to cut series deficit

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau had one thought when he saw goaltender Frederik Andersen take a slap shot from Nashville captain Shea Weber off the head: Ouch.

“Those things hurt,” Boudreau said.

A trainer came out to check on Andersen, who missed seven games in March because of a concussion.

Andersen stayed in the game and made 27 saves as the Ducks shut out theNashville Predators 3-0 on Tuesday to pull within 2-1 in their first-round playoff series.

“I think it bounced off the top of my head instead of square in the forehead, so I think that was pretty lucky,” said Andersen, who has 16 postseason wins since 2014. “The buckle came off, so I wanted to make sure to get that back on so it was safe to play again.”

The Ducks have not lost three straight to open a postseason series since the 2006 Western Conference finals, and they didn’t come close to dropping a third straight this year.

Andersen, who started in net after John Gibson took the first two losses in Anaheim, posted his second postseason shutout, despite the slap shot from Weber, who won the hardest shot competition at the All-Star Game in January, during a power play in the second period.

Chris Stewart had a goal and an assist, and Jamie McGinn and Rickard Rakell each scored their first goals of the series.

“We didn’t make it easy on us,” Stewart said. “But at the end of the day, it is a race to four, and it’s 2-1 now, and we have one more to play before we go home.”

Game 4 will be Thursday in Nashville.

The Predators returned home with their first 2-0 lead in the postseason. The Predators lost center Craig Smith to a lower-body injury after he played only 65 seconds over two shifts, and that left coach Peter Laviolette mixing up his lines.

“It’s not an excuse for the way we played, but certainly we’d rather have guys in there and lines rolling over, as opposed to patching them together as we moved through the periods,” Laviolette said.

After a 3-2 loss in Game 2, Boudreau called out his Ducks for taking too many penalties and talking to the officials too much. Looking for a spark, Boudreau also switched to Andersen and played Shawn Horcoff for the first time in this series.

Even though the Ducks took five penalties, they showed much more discipline once the whistle blew.

“We did control our emotions,” Boudreau said. “The penalties we got, other than the too many men on the ice, they were earned. We’ll take them. We are really proud of our penalty killers. We don’t like them to do it too much. We’d like to keep it to two or three a game, but they did a great job tonight.”

They also took very good care of the puck, with no turnovers in the first 20 minutes, and the combination helped them lead at the end of a period for the first time this series. McGinn scored on a wrister from the right circle off a pass from Horcoff after he skated up the slot midway through the first.

A sold-out crowd tried to give the Predators a boost, but some sloppy play with too many turnovers and missed opportunities on the man advantage led to a smattering of boos starting late in the second.

“We just weren’t good enough in all areas,” Predators center Ryan Johansen said. “We weren’t quick, we weren’t fast, we didn’t use our legs, and we didn’t use our brains as fast as we needed to. That’s why it looked easy out there for them.”

When Filip Forsberg helped kill off a big chunk of an Anaheim power play, fans gave him a standing ovation. Nashville took the first few shots of the second period and even got its second man advantage when McGinn tripped Forsberg after the Predators forward beat two Ducks for the puck.

Rakell, who returned for this series after a ruptured appendix, finally got his first goal of the series at 11:33 of the second. He redirected a shot fromSami Vatanen to give Anaheim its biggest lead in this series. Then Stewart padded the lead by putting a backhand top shelf off his own miss at 17:06 of the second.

NOTES: Captain Ryan Getzlaf became the first Anaheim player in franchise history to play in 100 playoff games. … Weber set a franchise record by playing in his 48th postseason game, which broke a tie with David Legwand (47). … This was Nashville’s first time being shut out in the playoffs since May 4, 2012, in a 1-0 loss to the Coyotes. … The Ducks had only three giveaways, compared to 14 for Nashville.

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