Stymied time after time by Ducks goaltender John Gibson on Tuesday, denied apparent goals twice when they too enthusiastically crashed into him, the Predators wrested a gutsy 2-1 victory from the Ducks and took a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. The second came off a face-off Sunday night when Johansen’s stick caught Kesler in the face.
“It just blows my mind”, Johansen said. “I don’t know what’s going through his head over there”. “My instinct knows where he should be at some point but I can’t tell you that he’ll be at that spot to start so we still have to figure that out”. They we’re the most positive meetings I’ve been a part of in two or three years but you still have to scrutinize and examine parts of the their specific game that have to be improved. According to Sportsnet Stats, the team had won all seven games in which he registered a point at home in the postseason. When they did, Lemieux didn’t tone down his game. He was both feared and respected. The math is easy, fewer shots against and lots more shots on.
Defenseman Mattias Ekholm said the team feels comfortable on home ice. “You lived off their mistakes”.
And while Kesler couldn’t care less about what Johansen had to say, hearing that he was upset with the extra attention was music to Kesler’s ears.
“He’s not my friend, he’s not going to be my friend”, Kesler said. That includes Jared Boll, who had only three points in 51 games during the regular season but has played each of the first two games against Nashville.
The JOFA line is off the schneid, and I expect an even bigger performance from them now that Peter Laviolette has last change. “If I did, good”.
“He made some big saves in that game that kept us in it”.
Again, though, the story isn’t necessarily about how the Ducks came back to tie and ultimately win the game 5-3, but about Nashville’s inability to control the puck when it needed to.
“I think they believed that they were playing a decent game, and if we just stayed with it that we would eventually get one to drop and then see where it goes from there”.
It’s death by a thousand paper cuts – or pokes to the groin. After Game 2, we’re still talking about it.
Nick Ritchie’s tiebreaking goal at 17:07 of the second period was a wrister from the left faceoff circle that flew over Rinne’s blocker into the net’s roof.
Roman Josi delivered the go-ahead goal late in the third period.
Laviolette doesn’t seem too anxious about Johansen either, although I have difficulty believing he’s totally oblivious to his comments.
However, this is the first time in these playoffs someone has called out Kesler for crossing the line. “It’s nearly like we feel, ‘Oh, we’ve got nothing to lose now.’ It’s nearly like that’s when we play our best game”. He thrives on it. We have to be better defensively.
P.A. Parenteau has not played since Game 1 of the second round against St. Louis. “I was the same player in my career”. That means he is doing his job.