|ANA||1||1||0||(null - null)||2|
|NSH||1||1||2||(null - null)||4|
Unable to even their Western Conference Quarterfinals with the Predators in Game 6, the Ducks dropped a hard-fought contest 4-2 at Bridgestone Arena.
Anaheim scored the first goal of the game in the first period (which had been an indicator of the winner in the previous five games of the series) and also had the game tied after 40 minutes, but Nashville took over in the third period en route to its first-ever playoff series victory.
"You cannot give up four goals and expect to win consistently, and I thought we provided enough offense in the series," Carlyle said. "We didn't provide enough defense. The game in Anaheim with them scoring with 35 seconds left kind of put a dagger in us that you're not afforded many mistakes."
Teemu Selanne scored that opening goal, his team-leading sixth tally of the series. That tied a franchise record (with Joffrey Lupul, 2006 Western Conference Semifinals) for goals in one playoff round. Undecided on his future plans, the defeat could have been the Finnish Flash's final game of an illustrious career.
"Nobody tried harder, nobody cared more, nobody did more in this series than Teemu Selanne, and it's an emotional time for him right now because of what happened," Carlyle said. "There is always that looming, `Is this the last one,' and I'm sure he doesn't want to go out feeling the way he does right now."
Jason Blake also found the back of the net on a power play in the second, his third goal in the previous two games. Ray Emery made 26 saves in the loss.
With its first-ever playoff series victory, Nashville advances to the Western Conference Semifinals. They will either face top-seeded Vancouver or three-seed Detroit.
"I'm happy because I think of the resiliency of the group that worked so hard all year, and I'm relieved because there is a little bit of a cloud that we wanted to get to the next level," said Barry Trotz, the only coach of the franchise that hit the ice in the 1998-99 season.
"And if we never got there in this series, I think there would be a little bit of a carry-over."
Nick Spaling led Nashville with two goals in the game. Steve Sullivan also scored a goal, David Legwand had an empty-netter and Jordin Tootoo assisted on Spaling's goals. The Predators won the series 4-2 in their sixth postseason in seven seasons to avoid going back to Anaheim for Game 7.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne called the victory an amazing feeling before yet another sellout crowd.
"We really had a lot of push tonight," Rinne said. "We had a lot of emotion, and we really wanted to get it done tonight in our home building and just you know right now it was a tough series. And they have such a good team. They are never out of the game. it doesn't matter what we do, they always seem to respond."
"It was a great matchup and just couldn't be more happier to come out as a winner of this series."
Spaling scored his first two goals in the postseason. His second came off a rebound of Tootoo's shot, shortly after Nashville thought it had gone ahead only to have Patric Hornqvist's goal waived off because of a high stick. The call was upheld after a length video review.
"There's a new first every game," Trotz said. "That was a first for us. How would we handle that in Game 6, and we handled it just fine."
The Ducks didn't go away easily, not with a power-play unit that has been the NHL's best this postseason. They got the man advantage almost midway through the period when Mike Fisher was penalized for tripping.
But Selanne hit a post, and Rinne, the Vezina Trophy finalist, stopped Blake late to protect the lead. Nashville, the team built from the goalie out through its defense, finished off the win.
"He didn't want that Getzlaf line scoring," Legwand said. "Obviously, they're going to get chances. They didn't put any on the board tonight. That's a huge factor in the series and huge for us."
Anaheim took its timeout with 60 seconds left, having already pulled goalie Ray Emery, who kept the Ducks close by stopping Tootoo on a breakaway, then Matt Halischuk on a rebound. But Legwand scored into the empty net with 9.2 seconds left to wrap up the Predators' biggest win ever.
"I felt that we couldn't play at our level, ... and that's disappointing," Selanne said. "But what are you going to do? It's too late now. We gave everything that we had."
Carlyle started the game with Matt Beleskey on the top line with Perry and Getzlaf. Bobby Ryan found himself on the third line with Brandon McMillan and right wing Dan Sexton in his first playoff game. Jarkko Ruutu also played after sitting out his one-game suspension and only dressed six defensemen after having used seven at times in the series.
The Ducks had a 2-on-1 chance in the opening minute, but Cam Fowler couldn't handle the bouncing puck off a pass from Perry. Then the Predators kept the play in front of Emery, outshooting the Ducks 6-2 before Selanne skated around the net and flipped a backhand past his fellow Finn, Rinne, with 9:38 left in the first for a 1-0 lead.
Tootoo helped set up Spaling for the tying goal with 27.9 seconds left in the first, finding Spaling for a wrister past Emery.
Sullivan put the Predators up 2-1 when he broke up the right, used his skate to kick a pass from J.P. Dumont to his stick and then beat Emery with a backhander at 3:29 of the second. Dumont played his second straight game in place of Martin Erat, scratched because an upper-body injury after the hit that earned Ruutu his suspension.
Carlyle put Ryan back with Getzlaf and Perry in the second, trying to generate more offense. The Ducks spent much more time in front of Rinne, but they finally got the break they needed when Dumont tripped Luca Sbisa and gave them their first power play.
Blake tipped in a shot by Ryan in tying it at 2 with 1:37 left in the second.
NOTES: Selanne's goal off an assist from Saku Koivu extended their points streaks to six games, the longest in this postseason. Selanne had six goals and an assist, and Koivu had a goal and six assists in the series. ... Anaheim is 7-2 in Game 6s. ... Tootoo had five points in the series, topping the total he had in his 24 playoff games before this season. ... Blake's power-play goal improved Anaheim to 8 of 21 with the man advantage in the series, best this postseason. Blake's goal was his fourth of the series.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
|Teemu Selanne (6) ASST: Saku Koivu (6)|
1 - 0 ANA
|Nick Spaling (1) ASST: Jordin Tootoo (3)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Steve Sullivan (2) ASST: J-P Dumont (1), Blake Geoffrion (2)|
2 - 1 NSH
|PPG - Jason Blake (3) ASST: Bobby Ryan (1), Lubomir Visnovsky (3)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Nick Spaling (2) ASST: Jordin Tootoo (4), Pekka Rinne (1)|
3 - 2 NSH
|PPG - EN - David Legwand (2) ASST: Joel Ward (2)|
4 - 2 NSH
|Dan Sexton Holding against Cody Franson|
|Francois Beauchemin Hi-sticking against Matt Halischuk|
|J-P Dumont Tripping against Luca Sbisa|
|Mike Fisher Tripping against Saku Koivu|
|Saku Koivu Interference against Sergei Kostitsyn|
|Corey Perry Slashing against Mike Fisher|
|Teemu Selanne Misconduct (10 min)|
|SA: 29||TOI: 58:53|
|Saves: 26||EV: 22 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: .897||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 27||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 25||EV: 19 - 20|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 7|
|SV%: .926||SH: 0 - 0|