|ANA||0||2||1||(null - null)||3|
|NSH||2||0||2||(null - null)||4|
Despite being outshot 37-16 in Game 3, the Ducks put up a fight down the stretch and nearly came away with a win in Nashville before suffering a close 4-3 defeat.
Twice Anaheim tied the game, first on two Teemu Selanne goals in the second period and then on Matt Beleskey's tally in the third, but the club could not hold off the Predators in the first game of the series played at Bridgestone Arena.
Mike Fisher broke a tie at 10:21 of the third period, and the Predators took advantage of Bobby Ryan sitting out the first of his two-game suspension by beating Anaheim. Nashille now has a 2 games to 1 lead in the Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.
The Predators led 2-0 after the first period before Selanne scored two goals 30 seconds apart late in the second to tie it.
"That could've been a real dagger if we let that one slip away," Nashville captain Shea Weber said. "They didn't really have a lot of chances, but the chances they had they scored."
The NHL suspended Ryan on Saturday for stomping Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum's foot late in the Ducks' 5-3 victory Friday night. Ryan also will miss Game 4 on Wednesday night in Nashville when the Ducks will try to even the series.
Corey Perry had two assists on Selanne's goals. Beleskey also had a goal in another physical and tight game between the teams, tying it 1:23 after Legwand gave Nashville a 3-2 lead early in the third.
Fisher put Nashville ahead to stay at 4-3 with his third goal of the series, scoring off a nice pass from Sergei Kostitsyn with a wrister near the post that appeared to go off goalie Ray Emery.
Saku Koivu hooked Blum with 2:20 left, putting Nashville on the power play and keeping the Ducks from pulling Emery for an extra attacker until it was too late. That scenario brought back memories for Nashville, which blew a one-goal lead in Chicago while trying to finish the game late with the man advantage. This time, the Predators sealed the win.
Only Emery making great save after save kept the Predators from blowing out the Ducks, especially early.
Selanne was blunt in his assessment of the Ducks' play.
"We had no business in this game. ... No business. They wanted it more. They won the battles. We were lucky to even be in this game. I'm very disappointed," Selanne said.
Ryan is part of the Ducks' top offensive line with Ryan Getzlaf and Perry and one of the best in the NHL. Ryan ranked second on the team with 34 goals and had a career-high 71 points. Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle started Brandon McMillan at left wing for Ryan, adding more speed over Ryan's size.
"The first 30 minutes we stood around and really didn't get our feet moving," Carlyle said. "We committed some atrocious turnovers in the hockey game in the defensive zone. If we don't play better defensively than we played tonight, then I don't think we can give ourselves much of a chance."
The Predators opened by taking the first five shots, and the Ducks didn't get their first shot on net until 9:33 of the first by Francois Beauchemin. When Luca Sbisa was called for roughing Matt Halischuk, that gave Nashville the opening it needed.
Erat scored with 8 seconds left on the man advantage with a wrister over Emery's glove with 5 minutes left in the period for his seventh career postseason goal. The goal hadn't been announced when Getzlaf had a turnover with the puck going to Tootoo. He hit the post, then tapped the puck back into the open net for his first goal of the series with 4:22 to go for the 2-0 lead.
Getzlaf apparently tried to fire up his teammates late in the second. He skated up to Fisher, then dropped a glove as the two fought briefly. That meant Getzlaf was in the box when Shane O'Brien drew an elbowing penalty, but Selanne and Perry took care of things.
Perry fed the puck to Selanne for a wrister from the slot with 1:50 left to pull Anaheim to 2-1 on just the Ducks' ninth shot on Pekka Rinne. Selanne tied it up 30 seconds later with a wrister behind Rinne from the side of the net on another assist by Perry.
Legwand scored his first this series on a cross-ice pass from Suter at 5:25 of the third to put Nashville up 3-2. But that didn't last long as Beleskey scored his first at 6:48, knocking the puck from Koivu off Nashville defenseman Cody Franson's skate past Rinne.
NOTES: Erat tied Nashville captain Shea Weber for most postseason goals in franchise history with seven. Erat also has three points since getting four teeth knocked out in Game 2. ... Selanne had his first two-goal game in the postseason since May 1, 2002, when he was with San Jose at Colorado. Selanne has four goals in the series.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
|PPG - Martin Erat (1) ASST: Cody Franson (2), Joel Ward (1)|
1 - 0 NSH
|Jordin Tootoo (1) ASST: Jerred Smithson (1)|
2 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Teemu Selanne (3) ASST: Corey Perry (3)|
2 - 1 NSH
|Teemu Selanne (4) ASST: Corey Perry (4)|
2 - 2 Tie
|David Legwand (1) ASST: Ryan Suter (2), Martin Erat (2)|
3 - 2 NSH
|Matt Beleskey (1) ASST: Saku Koivu (3)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Mike Fisher (3) ASST: Sergei Kostitsyn (3), Ryan Suter (3)|
4 - 3 NSH
|Jerred Smithson Tripping against Brad Winchester|
|Luca Sbisa Roughing against Matt Halischuk|
|Ryan Getzlaf Slashing against Joel Ward|
|Saku Koivu Hi-sticking against Patric Hornqvist|
|Todd Marchant Boarding against Jordin Tootoo|
|Mike Fisher Fighting (maj) against Ryan Getzlaf|
|Ryan Getzlaf Fighting (maj) against Mike Fisher|
|Shane O'Brien Elbowing against George Parros|
|Todd Marchant Roughing against Patric Hornqvist|
|Shane O'Brien Roughing against Corey Perry|
|Saku Koivu Hooking against Jonathon Blum|
|SA: 37||TOI: 59:40|
|Saves: 33||EV: 22 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 11 - 12|
|SV%: .892||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 16||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 13||EV: 11 - 13|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 3|
|SV%: .813||SH: 0 - 0|
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