The NHL playoffs are a lesson in how to never count a team out of a game and the Nashville Predators were more than happy to teach that lesson to Anaheim tonight beating the Ducks 4-3 in overtime to take a 3-2 series lead.
Heading into the final minute of play, the Predators trailed the Ducks 3-2 thanks to two goals from Jason Blake and an incredible single effort from Bobby Ryan on his third period goal. With a faceoff in the Anaheim zone with under a minute to play, the Predators won the draw back to captain Shea Weber who let a shot rip through a crowd and past Ray Emery (33 saves) to tie the game with 36 seconds left in the third period.
Weber’s third goal of the playoffs gave the Predators new life and in overtime they’d take control of it as Jerred Smithson would score just 1:57 into the extra session thanks to a beauty of a feed from Jordin Tootoo to end the game and put the Predators on the brink of winning their first playoff round in franchise history. The overtime win was also the Predators first in team history helping to set the stage for a raucous Game 6 in Nashville as the Predators look to wrap things up.
Teams battling back to stay strong in the face of adversity is nothing new. Teams with big leads in games or series have been coming out on the short end of things in a disturbing number. For Nashville to get tough and bear down at the end of regulation to keep pressuring Anaheim and forcing them to dump the puck for icing towards the end of the game helping to set up the faceoff that led to the game-tying goal. The pressure kept up in overtime and it paid off in Smithson’s game winner.
That kind of high intensity paired up with questionable Ducks goaltending has produced three wins so far in the series. Expect more of the same on Sunday in Nashville. While Pekka Rinne wasn’t looking like the Vezina Trophy finalist again tonight (23 saves), the rest of the team rallied around him tonight to make sure he didn’t end up on the wrong end of things.
Anaheim’s in a hole now and while you can’t count them out by any means, there are obvious holes in their game that the Predators are pushing to expose. They’re crashing Ray Emery’s net and making the Ducks’ defense look bad. While the Ducks superstar players are alternately being supermen and struggling to get on the sheet, they need to step up in a big way if they’re going to prevent the Predators from ending the series on Sunday. There’s a reason why Corey Perry is being talked about as a potential MVP in the league and he’ll need to show why in Game 6 if there’s going to be a Game 7.
Here are the highlights from tonight’s game.
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Less than a week after falling two places to fifth in the NHL draft lottery, the Vancouver Canucks have reportedly received more bad news: NCAA free agent forward Drake Caggiula will not be signing in Vancouver.
That’s according to reports from TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Friday. Not only are the Canucks supposedly out of the running, but so, too, are the Ottawa Senators, according to Friedman.
It was suggested earlier in the day that the Canucks could be front-runners for Caggiula, who played at North Dakota with Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick Brock Boeser and recent college signing Troy Stecher.
The ill will between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning has continued early in Game 4 on Friday.
It started with a scuffle in front of the Tampa Bay net after Islanders forward Steve Bernier fell over Ben Bishop, appearing to push downward with his stick as the Lightning goalie covered the puck.
Anxious few seconds there for the Lightning, as Bishop, appearing to favor the back of his head, was slow to get back to his skates. He has remained in the game.
The Islanders, needing a win to even the series, broke through for the game’s opening goal. Kyle Okposo ripped a shot from the slot that beat Bishop on the glove side late in the ensuing power play following the aforementioned heated gathering.
Related: WATCH LIVE: Lightning and Islanders — Game 4
There is only one game on the playoff schedule tonight, but it’s a crucial Game 4 between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders are looking to even the series at two games apiece before it shifts back to Tampa Bay for Game 5.
You can catch Game 4 between the Lightning and Islanders on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Isles need ‘a short memory,’ can’t get hung up on Game 3 disappointment
Andreychuk confident that Stamkos will re-sign in Tampa Bay
No hearings scheduled for Boyle on Hickey hit, or Hickey on Drouin hit
In an emotional farewell ceremony to Edmonton’s Rexall Place last month, organizers somehow overlooked one rather significant detail about a former WHA player.
We will let the Oilers explain:
Oilers Entertainment Group would like to issue a formal apology to former Edmonton Oiler (WHA) Roger Cote and his family. In a special segment during the Farewell Rexall Place Night on April 6, 2016, the organization honoured members of the Oilers Alumni who have unfortunately passed on. In an extreme oversight and error, we included Mr. Cote in that portion of the program. Roger is alive and well, living in Garson, Ontario. For this action and any confusion or pain it caused Mr. Cote and his family and friends, we sincerely apologize.
In addition to recognizing the error and issuing an apology, the Oilers added that they will be hosting Cote and his son at a game at Rogers Place next season.
Cote played two seasons for Edmonton during the WHA days.
The ceremony following the final game at Rexall Place involved more than 150 Oilers alumni members, staff and special guests, as well as current members of the organization, according to the Oilers.