Ducks even West­ern fi­nals


Corey Perry’s shot de­flected in off Nashville de­fence­man P.K. Sub­ban’s stick 10:25 into over­time, and the Ducks snapped the Preda­tors’ 10-game home play­off win­ning streak with a 3-2 vic­tory Thurs­day night that evened the West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals at 2-2.

John Gib­son made 32 saves for Ana­heim, which was the last team to beat the Preda­tors in Nashville in the play­offs last spring in Game 4 of their first-round se­ries.

Rickard Rakell and Nick Ritchie staked the Ducks to a 2-0 lead. But Sub­ban scored with 6:27 left, and Filip Fors­berg tied it with 34.5 sec­onds re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion with his fourth goal in four games.

The Preda­tors had matched the 199798 Detroit Red Wings with their 10game win­ning streak but missed match­ing Colorado’s 11-0 play­off run in 1996-97.

Perry ended the sec­ond over­time in this se­ries with a goal orig­i­nally cred­ited to Nate Thomp­son. Perry’s shot from near the right boards de­flected off Sub­ban’s stick and past goalie Pekka Rinne as the de­fence­man tried to poke- check the puck away. Perry has three over­time goals this year. Game 5 is Satur­day night in Ana­heim. The Ducks killed off five penal­ties, in­clud­ing a 5-on-3 in the third. But the Preda­tors out­shot them 11-5 in the third with the late flurry forc­ing over­time.

Sub­ban scored off a blast from the blue-line to re­vive the stand­ing-room only crowd with Fors­berg help­ing screen Gib­son. Then Ana­heim de­fence­man Kevin Bieksa, play­ing his first game since the opener against Ed­mon­ton in the sec­ond round, went to the box for high-stick­ing Fors­berg. Just 29 sec­onds later, de­fence­man Josh Man­son slashed James Neal.

That gave Nashville a 5 on 3 for 1:31 with 4:38 left. The Preda­tors couldn’t get the puck past Gib­son.

Fors­berg, who started Nashville’s come­back win in Game 3, en­sured over­time crash­ing the net with two team­mates and smash­ing the puck across the line.

Nashville brought out the in­au­gu­ral Amer­i­can Idol win­ner in Kelly Clark­son as the lat­est big name to sing the na­tional an­them, and rock group Kings of Leon ral­ly­ing up the crowd by wav­ing from the band­stand in Mu­sic City’s lat­est show of star power. NHL Com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman also was on hand with a fran­chise-record 17,423 fans on hand.

The Ducks looked much stronger af­ter a day off Wed­nes­day from coach Randy Car­lyle, and they pounded the Preda­tors up and down the ice. De­fence­man Josh Man­son even checked Rinne against the boards be­hind the net late in the sec­ond pe­riod.

They also dom­i­nated the play early and caught the Preda­tors in a line change with a long pass to Rakell lead­ing to a slap shot that beat Rinne at 11:30 of the first. It was the sev­enth goal this post-sea­son for Rakell, who led the Ducks with 33 goals dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Ana­heim wound up out­shoot­ing Nashville 14-2 in the first pe­riod thanks to the Preda­tors be­ing cred­ited for a shot dur­ing the in­ter­mis­sion. It was the fewest shots ever al­lowed by the Ducks in a pe­riod.

The Preda­tors opened the sec­ond with a bit more en­ergy, match­ing what they put on net in the first pe­riod within a minute. But Ritchie gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead at 10:22 with a wris­ter from the right cir­cle, beat­ing Rinne’s blocker for his fourth this post-sea­son.

As­so­ci­ated Press photo

Ana­heim Ducks cen­tre An­drew Cogliano (7) cel­e­brates with goalie John Gib­son (36) af­ter de­feat­ing the Nashville Preda­tors in over­time of Game 4 of the West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nal in the NHL hockey Stan­ley Cup play­offs Thurs­day in Nashville, Tenn.

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