The Nashville Predators finally are facing their first real adversity this postseason, with the Anaheim Ducks eager to push, hit and poke them out of what's already been a historic run.
The Ducks took advantage of their first power play to score with 4:25 left in the second period. Forsberg scored to give Nashville the lead back at the eight-minute mark, but Ondrej Kase tied the game back up less than three minutes later.
Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell (67), of Sweden, and Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) battle for the puck in front of Anaheim goalie John Gibson, left, during the second period in Game 3 of the Western Confere. For the second straight game, Corey Perry was held without a shot on goal.
In an downtown atmosphere never seen before, the Predators came out buzzing, firing shot after shot only to be turned away time and time again by Ducks' goaltender John Gibson.
NOTES: After going 0-for-20 on the power play over six consecutive games, Anaheim scored a power-play goal for the second straight contest. But he sailed his shot well over Gibson.
Anaheims Ryan Kesler was booed nearly every time he touched the puck on Tuesday night, but most of the venom during the third period was saved for referees Brad Meier and Wes McCauley, who had the audacity to disallow two Nashville goals. "But we know how important these games are and every one gets more important as we go forward and tonight's response after getting down 2-0 was a character builder for our group".
They have made the most of the opportunities they've had to play at home, though.
"You could sense going into the third period, the guys were saying the right things, they were confident", Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. It was only fitting that Anaheim pulled off another improbable victory, after doing so in the first two rounds, erasing three-goal leads in games against Calgary and Edmonton. Quite possibly. The matchup of both Kesler and Johansen will certainly draw the attention of the officials as this series continues.
Game 3 is Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. His family and friends watching him play, I don't know how you can cheer for a guy like that.
Game 2 was another tight, low-scoring game, but the ice was clearly tilted Pittsburgh's way in the third period. Now, the series moves to Nashville tied as the Predators lost just their third game in this postseason so far. Neal doubled the lead on a power play with one of the easiest goals in recent National Hockey League history, escorting the puck unimpeded into the net when Gibson completely lost sight of the play.
"We believe that we can go in any building and play with the teams that we're up against and give ourselves a chance for success", Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.
"It's good to get that one". J.G. Pageau scored at 14:32 of the first for Ottawa.
Kesler leaned against a wall in the hallway outside the Anaheim dressing room and said he laughed when he heard Johansen's comments. If you look at the first period, they really came on us with a lot of pressure.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Gibson is getting better as the pressure mounts.
It was so just barely, in fact, that Kase didn't even recognize this shining moment of his career as it happened in real time.
The beginning couldn't have gone any better for the Nashville Predators.