Nashville Predators Eliminate Anaheim Ducks

USATSI_9272370_154158418_lowresThe Nashville Predators have eliminated the Anaheim Ducks with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night. They took the seven game series 4-3.

The Predators opened the scoring with goals from Colin Wilson and Paul Gaustad. They held the Ducks off the scoreboard until early in the third period, when Ryan Kesler scored his fourth goal on the series and pulled his team within one.

But Nashville was able to close it out, thanks in large part to the defensive prowess of Mike Weber and Roman Josi. The defenceman topped 25 minutes of ice time apiece and cleared the zone when it counted. Centre Mike Fisher was also integral in defensive situations and his play frustrated Ducks forward Corey, who went without a goal in the first round.

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne also played his part, withstanding several Anaheim onslaughts and coming up with some serious puck luck as time dwindled down on Wednesday. The Ducks shelled him in the closing minutes, but the netminder was able to seal the deal and had 36 saves on the night.

As predicted by yours truly, this series was down to the wire and Nashville’s shutdown ability closed this out. Rinne was remarkable and the Predators won three of four games in Anaheim, doing away with any illusions of home ice advantage.

Weber was a beast, fuelling his club with massive amounts of ice time and tallying two goals and three assists. Ryan Johansen and James Neal were rolling for the Predators, too, even if they were held off the scoreboard in Game Seven. Only Filip Forsberg seemed frustrated by the Ducks, with just three points in the series and zero points for the last handful of games.

For the Ducks, the loss marks yet another in a long line of Game Seven losses at home. They built on great performances from Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf, with Kesler putting up four goals in the series and Getzlaf piling up five points in six games.

The Predators will now go on to face the San Jose Sharks, who’ve had plenty of time to cool off after wiping out the Los Angeles Kings in the first round.

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