Perry gets OT win­ner af­ter Ducks give up two late scores

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Kevin Bax­ter

NASHVILLE — Be­fore each game, Corey Perry said the Ducks go over a list of things they have to do well and things they have to over­come to be suc­cess­ful.

On Thurs­day, in Game 4 of the West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals, they crossed off a lot of items on that list, rac­ing out to a two-goal lead, giv­ing it up in the fi­nal 35 sec­onds of the third pe­riod, then re­bound­ing to beat the Nashville Preda­tors 3-2 in over­time, evening the best-of-seven se­ries at two wins apiece.

The se­ries, now a best-of -three, re­turns to Ana­heim for Game 5 on Satur­day at Honda Cen­ter.

“It doesn’t mat­ter when it’s in the game. You’ve got to go back and think, what’s on that list?” Perry said. “Ad­ver­sity’s one of them. We knew com­ing into over­time, you put that pe­riod be­hind you. And we got some chances. And we got a break.”

And then they got a win 10:25 into over­time, with Perry’s cen­ter­ing pass from the right wing hit­ting the stick of Nashville de­fense­man P.K. Sub­ban and de­flect­ing into the net for his sec­ond goal in as many games.

“I was just try­ing to cre­ate traf­fic … cre­ate havoc in front,” Perry said. “That’s what they say in over­time: You throw it on net, never know what’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

The game was ac­tu­ally two games in one, with the Ducks dom­i­nat­ing for the first 21⁄2 pe­ri­ods, tak­ing a 2-0 lead on goals from Rickard Rakell and Nick Ritchie. But they stum­bled with the fin­ish line in sight, al­low­ing Nashville to tie the game on goals from Sub­ban and Filip Fors­berg in the fi­nal 61⁄2 min­utes of reg­u­la­tion.

A poor line change by the Preda­tors half­way through the first pe­riod led to a 1-0 Ducks lead when Rakell, left alone at the blue line, col­lected a long pass from Cam Fowler and beat goalie Pekka Rinne with a slap shot from the top of the left cir­cle.

On the other end, Ducks goalie John Gib­son faced only two shots in the open­ing 20 min­utes, the fewest al­lowed in a post­sea­son pe­riod in fran­chise his­tory.

Ritchie dou­bled the lead mid­way through the sec­ond pe­riod, us­ing Nashville de­fense­man Ro­man Josi to shield Rinne, then blast­ing a shot past him high to the goalie’s glove side.

The Ducks gave all that away in a sloppy third pe­riod, one in which they took four penal­ties — giv­ing Nashville a two-man ad­van­tage for one 91sec­ond stretch while go­ing 13 min­utes with­out a shot them­selves.

“These ebbs and flows,” Ducks coach Randy Car­lyle said. “We wanted to make sure we es­tab­lished a strong start. And we did that, with an ex­cla­ma­tion mark.

“But we knew they were go­ing to come out with more of a push.”

The push started with 6:23 left in reg­u­la­tion, with Sub­ban fir­ing a slap shot through traf­fic and past Gib­son from just in­side the blue line be­fore Fors­berg tied the score on a con­tro­ver­sial goal with 36 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion.

With the Nashville net empty and the Ducks run­ning out the clock, de­fense­man Josh Man­son tried to play the puck off the boards be­hind the Ducks goal. The Preda­tors’ Ryan Jo­hansen ap­peared to cross­check Man­son, al­low­ing the puck to trickle out to Vik­tor Arvids­son, who pushed it to the front for Fors­berg to chop in.

“It wasn’t ideal,” for­ward An­drew Cogliano said of the way the Ducks fin­ished the third pe­riod. “You want to close out that game.”

But the mood in the dress­ing room was one of op­ti­mism, not dread. How to re­bound from disas­ter, it turns out, is on the check­list too.

“The only thing you can con­trol is how you re­set your­self and how you plan to move for­ward,” Car­lyle said. “We did a good job of un­der­stand­ing that we can’t change what just hap­pened, but we sure can make an im­pres­sion and go out and give us what you’ve got.”

Perry did that, al­low­ing the Ducks to breach the on­ceim­pen­e­tra­ble walls of Bridge­stone Arena, where the Preda­tors hadn’t lost a home play­off game in 10 tries, the long­est streak in the NHL in two decades.

The last vis­it­ing team to win a play­off game in Nashville? The Ducks, who beat the Preda­tors in Game 4 of their first-round se­ries last sea­son.

“We de­served to win,” Cogliano said. “That was prob­a­bly our best game of the se­ries. That’s the big­gest win we’re go­ing to get all sea­son. And we needed it.”

Mark Humphrey As­so­ci­ated Press

DUCKS DE­FENSE­MAN Josh Man­son shows a good ver­ti­cal leap to knock the puck away in the third pe­riod.

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