Looking back, the 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Sunday still looks pretty ugly for the Ducks. The loss put them down 2-1 in the series and the Ducks have to find a way to get things tied up again on Wednesday night.
It was a miracle that game three was not a complete blowout. Ray Emery seemed to be the only goaltender on the ice for most of the game and ended up stopping 33 shots. Pekke Rinne? Saw less than half the shots that Emery did, including a measly four in the first period.
To say the Ducks weren’t in the game would have been an understatement. By the end of the first period, the Predators were up 2-0. A power play goal by Martin Erat at 15:00 and a goal from fan favorite, Jordin Tootoo, :38 seconds later, gave the already loud crowd more reasons to celebrate.
An unlikely fight late in the second period between Ryan Getzlaf and Mike Fisher, two guys neither team would like to see exchanging fisticuffs, seemed to have woken up Anaheim.
“That was big,” said Teemu Selanne. “That changed the momentum. Leaders have to do that sometimes and that gave us a spark. We were back in the game but still a couple back-door plays in the third, empty-nets. Boom … it’s two goals in the third. So many mistakes, it’s unbelievable.”
Selanne took the spark and made it a fire, taking it upon himself to get things going and scored a power play goal and even strength goal at 18:10 and 18:40. Those two goals were the fastest two goals in the playoffs since Petr Nedved scored two just :11 seconds apart 15 years to the day.
In the third period, David Legwand put Nashville back in the lead at 5:25, but at 6:48, Matt Beleskey had the puck go in off his skate as he was falling to the ice. Tied once more, which was miraculous.
Nashville persevered and Fisher gave the Predators the go-ahead goal at 10:22.
After the game Selanne peeled the paint off the dressing room and reporter’s microphones with a tirade against his teammates that was well deserved.
“We had no f-ing business in this game,” Selanne aptly observed. “No business. They wanted it more. They won the battles. We were lucky to even be in the game. Very disappointed.”
The day after the loss, Selanne’s words were still ringing in the ears of his teammates.
“You guys only heard a little of it,” Corey Perry told reporters. “He said a lot more before that. His voice carries a long way.”
Selanne was much more subdued the day after the game.
“It’s a new day and there are new opportunities,” Selanne grinned with his usual infectious smile. “Today’s the day for positive.”
It is a new day and the Ducks have a new opportunity on Wednesday to tie up the series. They will have to do it without Bobby Ryan, who will serve the second and final game of his suspension. However, with Selanne’s admonishments still ringing in their ears, you can believe that the Ducks will play a better game. If not, they deserve to hear every single word, and more, from a teammate who deserves better than this in what could be his final playoff games of his career.