Mariota and his O-line go big at Predators game

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22 May, 2017

Anaheim Ducks' Antoine Vermette (50) celebrates with Josh Manson (42) and Ryan Kesler (17) after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators during the third period of Game 2 of the Western Conference final in the National Hockey League hocke.

Both the Anaheim Ducks and their fans showed up late for the start of the National Hockey League's Western Conference finals.

Yet, they still gave up the first goal, took the first penalty, surrendered the first power-play goal, took the second penalty, allowed the second goal and, 16 minutes in, had just two shots on goal.

Especially not on home ice.

The Predators allowed more than three goals in this postseason for the first time in Sunday's 5-3 setback but can take solace in the fact that the next two games are at Bridgestone Arena, where they have won nine in a row in the playoffs since back-to-back defeats against Anaheim a year ago.

It gave the Predators a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. After today's success of winning home series "Predators" has reached six games.

"You feel like you could have saved that one", Rinne said.

"That's really it", Ekholm said. We've been a good team on the road. "Whether it's overtime or third period or we're leading or we're trailing". We just kept coming at them and had a lot of chances.

Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson apparently eclipsed Gibson with one of the NHL's all-time most comprehensive screens, Gibson looking and leaning to his left as Neal flipped the puck into the sudden open space to his right. Anaheim capitalized on their power play thanks to those penalties and score with just under five minutes remaining in the second period.

The Predators also have been physical, and defenseman P.K. Subban said he thinks they've been doing a good job so far, particularly Johansen.

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Ryan Kesler knows that he has managed to rattle Predators center Ryan Johansen and the veteran Anaheim Ducks center doesn't plan on easing up.

Said Kesler to Sportsnet's Christine Simpson: "He's a skilled player and I play the game hard".

Game 4 is Thursday night in Nashville. "Predators" already robbed "of Anaheim" home ice advantage, and now took home the match and was halfway from the historic hit in the Stanley Cup finals. This was the first time in this playoff season that the Preds looked rattled at times.

X-factor: Ryan Ellis. Nashville always has a defenseman who goes from sleeper to an on-the-radar threat.

The Ducks' style might be taking a toll on the Predators' power play. Josi's game-winner-a wrister from the right face-off circle-came on a power play with 2:43 left in regulation.

So, the Nashville Predators lost game two for the second consecutive series.

"Whoever was in, we had a ton of confidence in", captain Sidney Crosby said. Johansen said he didn't know how Kesler plays like that - repeatedly poking him in the groin with his stick - with family and friends watching. Like every time they stand up and they just keep cheering, keep cheering. Unfortunately for them, Nashville ended up playing their worst game of the playoffs in Game 2, specifically their goaltender Pekka Rinne.

To start the festivities, the surprise singer of the National Anthem for the night was none other than award-winning country artist Keith Urban.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota waved the rally towel along with his offensive linemen from the band stage.


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