Teemu Selanne had no need to go on a rampage against his team after Wednesday night’s effort against the Nashville Predators. Unlike game three, the Ducks were clearly involved in game four, and the 6-3 victory to even up the series at 2-2 was plenty of reward.
Those six goals came from six different players, but none was more important than Corey Perry’s short handed marker at 1:17 of the third period. The eventual game winner was a severe blow to Nashville, who had already come back to tie the game twice. The Predators were unable to recover from that point and the Ducks made sure there was no comeback.
The Ducks got out to a good start, getting a power play goal from Cam Fowler at 4:41 of the first period. Saku Koivu made it 2-0 at 5:14. The Predators, victim of aggressive forechecking by Anaheim, decided to take their time out.
The quick pause served the Predators well, as Patrick Hornqvist put Nashville on the board at 5:45. It was Nashville’s first shot on goal.
By the end of the first period, it was 2-1, and the Ducks had outshot the Predators 16 – 12. 16 shots is what the Ducks accumulated over the course of the entire game three.
Jarkko Ruutu caught Martin Erat in the middle of the ice and ended up making contact with Erat’s head. It was not a blindside hit, but it clearly knocked Erat for a loop and he did not return to the game. Ruutu got two minutes for interference and Joel Ward tipped in Cody Franson’s power play shot at 5:44 to tie everything up.
Ward got a high stick on Jason Blake that left him bloodied in the face and down on the ice. Inexplicably, the Nashville fans saw fit to boo Blake, who clearly did not inflict an open would on his face on his own. The Ducks took a while, but eventually capitalized on the double minor with Selanne getting a tip in at 11:41.
That was Selanne’s fifth goal of the series, which not only leads all other players, but it also matches the grand total that Boston has scored in three games against Montreal. Four of the five have come on the power play, but then again, what else would you expect from the Ageless Wonder?
Nashville continued to hang in there and Matt Halischuk evened up the game once more at 14:15. Halischuk was waiting patiently at the back door of the net and when the puck got to him, he was wide open.
The Predators started the third period with 1:28 left on their fifth power play. Rather than take the lead for the first time in the game, Brandon McMillan and Corey Perry burned the Predators. Perry picked up the puck at the blue line and McMillan drove the middle lane, distracting Pekke Rinne. In went the puck, and that was it for the Predators.
“He created space and made a great move,” Perry commended McMillan.
McMillan might have created the space, but Perry did the actual damage, something he did often enough during the regular season to lead the league in goal scoring.
According to Vince Gill, one of Nashville’s intemission entertaibers, Perry is soft. Clearly Gill does not watch Duck hockey, but he got to see Perry work up close and personal on Wednesday night. Hope that crow tasted delicious.
“That’s a huge goal for them and changed the momentum of the game,” Rinne observed.
Ryan Getzlaf gave the Ducks some breathing room at 4:51 and McMillan got his first playoff goal at 6:46 to finish off the scoring.
The Ducks now head back to Anaheim with the series tied and happy to add Bobby Ryan back into the line-up, after he had served a two game suspension for stepping on Jonathan Blum’s skate in game two.
Anaheim knows that in game five, someone is going to be up 3-2. and they want to be the team with the edge when they head back to Nashville on Easter Sunday. The only resurrection on Easter should be Jesus Christ, not the Nashville Predators. Anything less for the Ducks is unacceptable.