Ducks rally to defeat Predators, even series at 1-1

The Ducks had been 5-0-0 in games they led after the second period, but the Predators didn't let them extend that streak.

Even Predators forward Filip Forsberg, who has never been confused with, say, Claude Lemieux, snuck in a stick to the groin of the Ducks' Jacob Silfverberg just before the second period ended.

The Nashville Predators look to protect their home ice and take a 2-1 series lead. Ondrej Kase put one under the right left pad of Pekka Rinne that just barely squeaked over the goal line and tied the game again at 3.

An empty-netter from Antoine Vermette in the final minute of the third period sealed the win.

Anaheim goalie John Gibson stopped 30 shots.

It had been that kind of series for Rinne, who had uncharacteristically struggled in Game 2, allowing four or more goals for the first time in the playoffs.

"Nashville" could not bring matters to a comeback in the final period, if not the goalkeeper of "Anaheim" Gibson, who had 40 times to enter the game. Through the first two games of the series, Gibson has seen Nashville fire off 79 shots on goal, the most he's seen in consecutive games all postseason.

"The penalty at the end of the first changed the game, changed the momentum", Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.

"They're a good hockey team, no doubt about it", Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said.

Game 3 is set for Tuesday night in Nashville.

Pekka Rinne has been the best and most consistent goaltender in the 2017 National Hockey League postseason. Rinne picked up right where he left off last season when Nashville eliminated Anaheim from the first round in seven games, but Gibson was similarly outstanding.

Johansen vented his frustration at Kesler's veteran play Sunday night after Anaheim rallied in Game 2 and won 5-3 to even the Western Conference finals at 1-1.

The Predators opened Game 2 on Sunday night the same way, scoring the first two goals of the game from Ryan Johansen and Neal. "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".

Add in a dose of heavy physicality, more so than we saw in Game 1, and the Predators were effectively drawn off the style of game that they prefer to play into an environment that the Ducks excel in. The lone goal held up for nearly 40 minutes, when Evgeni Malkin scored at 14:25 of the third to tie the game.

Perry's goal came just after the Ducks had a potential score waved off by referee Brad Meier.

Nick Ritchie's tiebreaking goal at 17:07 of the second period was a wrister from the left faceoff circle that flew over Rinne's blocker into the net's roof. "They're not going to give you anything but we worked hard to get our chances and we've got to bury them when we get them".

In that span-which lasted six full games-the Ducks finished 0 for 4 in four of those contests. I like Nashville to get the job done here and break the 1-1 series tie.

This was the night the Nashville Predators grew up, the moment they showed enough perseverance and maturity to forever shed their reputation as being a nice little team that always lacked some ingredient necessary for success in the rugged environment of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Things got chippy as the teams established a level of hatred one would expect with a conference final.