Michael Finewax

Hockey Daily Dose

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Rinne in tough as Ducks win

Monday, May 15, 2017


The remainder of the NHL playoffs will consist of one game a night during the Conference Finals (if both series go seven games).

 

On Sunday it was Game 2 of the Nashville-Anaheim series with the Predators up 1-0 and looking to head back home for Games 3 and 4 with a 2-0 lead.

 

Gotta wish my nephew Joshua a Happy Birthday.

 

Let’s get to the action!

 

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ANAHEIM 5 NASHVILLE 3  

 

That’s the Pekka Rinne I had become accustomed to in fantasy pools. Rinne had been unbelievable in the playoffs before Sunday night, stopping shot after shot and giving the Predators every chance to win, which they did in sweeping the Blackhawks in the first round and winning in six over St. Louis in Round 2.

 

But after the Predators took a 2-0 lead in Game 2 only 8:32 into the first, it was the Rinne of the last couple of seasons who was in net for Nashville.

 

It was the Rinne who despite going 34-21-10 in 2015-16, had a .908 GAA to go with a 2.48. He improved slightly this season with a 31-19-9 mark and a 2.42 GAA with a .918 save percentage but he had been spectacular in the postseason with a 9-2-0 record before Sunday.

 

Not that a 9-3 mark with a 1.62 GAA and a .942 save percentage isn’t amazing but there were definite cracks in his game on Sunday.

 

Ryan Johansen on a breakaway and James Neal gave the Predators the 2-0 lead before Sami Vatanen got the Ducks back in the game with a bad angle shot that found the corner of the net with a minute to go in the first. The goal gave the Ducks some confidence heading into the dressing room and they quickly tied it 39 seconds into the second period when Jakob Silfverberg scored his ninth of the playoffs on a pass from Rickard Rakell.

 

Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 3-2 lead just before the eight minute mark of the second but Ondrej Kase put home a rebound that just got over the goal line off a Shea Theodore shot from the blueline as he tied the game at 3.

 

Nick Ritchie scored the winner as his shot seemed to handcuff Rinne with 2:53 to go in the second. It was not a great shot but it found the top corner of the net and the Ducks were ahead for the first time all night.

 

Antoine Vermette scored his first of the playoffs into the empty net to seal the win for the Ducks who now head to Nashville tied at a game apiece.

 

Rinne stopped 22 of 26 shots while John Gibson, who once again looked shaky early on, rebounded to stop 30 of 33 shots for the win.

 

Ryan Getzlaf had three assists and moved into second place in NHL playoff scoring with 18 points, one behind Evgeni Malkin of Pittsburgh.

 

Cam Fowler had a pair of helpers for the Ducks as did Viktor Arvidsson for Nashville.

 

Ritchie and Austin Watson each had five hits in the game.

 

You have to wonder if Nashville will be the only team in the NHL who will protect eight players rather than seven forwards and three defensemen when the Vegas Golden Knights conduct their expansion draft on June 21.

 

With a blueline consisting of P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm, it is hard to imagine the Predators exposing any one of them to the Golden Knights.



Michael Finewax is entering his 13th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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