Thanks to the NHL’s best penalty killers, it hasn’t hurt them yet, and now the Ducks head home having dug themselves out of an 0-2 series hole
“We’re playing with fire,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We’ve got to keep them to two or three minors a game, or it gets too hard on all your players that kill the penalties, like (Ryan) Getzlaf, (Jakob) Silfverberg, (Corey) Perry and (Andrew) Cogliano. They’re playing a lot more than you’d like them to play because they’re killing so many penalties.”
Getzlaf and Cogliano also scored as the road team stayed perfect in the best-of-seven series.
Goalie Frederik Andersen picked up his second straight win by making 30 saves and setting a career shutout streak of 91 minutes, 26 seconds.
“It was a great team effort tonight,” Thompson said. “I can’t say enough about Freddie. He stood tall for us all night.”
Nashville’s Mike Fisher scored his first goal of the series.
Nashville lost a 2-0 series lead despite outshooting the Ducks for a second straight game, this time with a 31-25 edge in shots. But the Predators went 0 of 6 with the man advantage and are 1 of 19 on the power play in this series against the NHL’s best penalty killers in the regular season.
“We don’t want to keep doing that to ourselves,” Getzlaf said of the penalties. “It’s good that they are able to do what they are doing. Their power play isn’t getting it done either. I thought it showed great poise by our team.”
Game 5 is Saturday in Anaheim.
The Predators, who use country star Tim McGraw’s hit “I Like It, I Love It” as their goal song, brought McGraw before the puck dropped to wave a towel and rile up the home crowd. The Predators certainly started playing with more energy than in Game 3.
But Anaheim just missed out on the Stanley Cup finals last spring after losing Game 7 on its own ice, and these Ducks have been through plenty of adversity this season after being 16 points back in the Pacific before rallying to win the division.
Getzlaf put the Ducks up 1-0 just 62 seconds into the game when he poked the puck past Rinne off a shot from David Perron. Coming off his 3-0 shutout in Game 3, Andersen stopped the seven shots the Ducks didn’t block in the first period. That gave him a career-high 80-minute shutout streak in the postseason and Anaheim a 1-0 lead after the first period.
The Predators dominated in the second, pressuring Andersen with shot after shot. Finally, Fisher scored his first goal of the series on a snap shot from the right side off a pass from Colin Wilson, beating Andersen to the far side of the net at 11:26 to tie it up.
At that point, Nashville outshot Anaheim 12-1 only to see the Ducks close out the period.
The Ducks took the lead for good during a 4-on-4 when Viktor Arvidssonwas called for embellishment when slashed by Ducks defenseman Simon Despres at 15:55 of the second. Stopped twice earlier in the period by Rinne, Thompson put a wrister past the Nashville goalie to put Anaheim up 2-1 at 17:04 for his second goal of the series.
“We’ve got to respond better to that,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “Even when the goal goes in and they get that, we need to somehow generate the momentum back in our direction and swing it our way and we didn’t do that for the rest of the period. They were able to get another one, so it was a big turning point in the game.”
Then McGinn tapped in a rebound off Chris Stewart‘s shot at 18:56 for a 3-1 lead.
The Ducks killed off two more penalties in the third, helping Andersen by blocking more shots and flooding the slot in front of their goalie. Then Cogliano sealed the win with his second goal of the series at 16:52.
Andersen’s previous high had been 72 minutes, 51 seconds. … The Ducks blocked 25 shots. Titans coach Mike Mularkey and GM Jon Robinson were on hand for the game. … Nashville honored Prince, who died earlier Thursday, playing his songs throughout the game and putting his photo on the video board during a break in the third period to “Purple Rain.”