Quantcast 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Western Conference Round One: Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators
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2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – First Round Series Recap

Western Conference Quarterfinals Game 2 - Anaheim 5, Nashville 3 – Series tied, 1-1

 

The Anaheim Ducks, with a backup goalie in net, knew that they had to score big and attack relentlessly if they were going to turn around their first-round NHL playoff series against the Nashville Predators. Forced into an early must-win situation in the postseason, the team that won the 2007 Stanley Cup was able to answer the bell.

Anaheim’s big guns were blazing Friday night at the Honda Center in Southern California, and that’s why this tussle between two 99-point teams from sun-splashed locations is heading to the state of Tennessee all knotted up at one game apiece. Two nights after Nashville’s defense-first style squeezed all the life out of the Ducks and their brawny stars, the athletes from Anaheim found a way to show off their world-class skills in Game 2.

It’s not very complicated: Anaheim’s meal-ticket scorers came ready to play in this tilt and got on top of the Predators from the word go. The Ducks charged out of the gate and made the slow-to-react Preds pay a very steep price for committing three penalties. Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne scored on power plays, with Selanne’s goal coming in a 5-on-3 situation. Nashville slipped behind the flow of play and felt clearly overwhelmed by the Ducks’ open-ice prowess, and after two periods of thorough domination by the home team, Anaheim owned a 4-1 advantage.

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The value and necessity of Anaheim’s scoring spree in the first two periods was made plain in the third stanza. The Ducks are playing this series without star goaltender Jonas Hiller, who is suffering from vertigo that’s serious enough to keep him on the sidelines. Dan Ellis got the start for Anaheim in Game 1 and was completely overmatched by Nashville, his former team. In Game 2, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle decided to pull the trigger and go with Ray Emery, an oft-injured goalie who carried the Ottawa Senators to the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals – ironically enough, against Anaheim. Emery, now wearing “Duck feathers,” was solid on this night, but he buckled a bit in the third period, as Nashville scored twice in less than nine minutes to creep within a goal at 4-3. Anaheim’s lack of elite goaltending in the absence of Hiller became a paramount theme at that point in time, but because the Ducks put the puck in the Nashville net, they still owned a lead. Anaheim was able to steady itself in the final 10 minutes of regulation, and when Bobby Ryan tallied an empty-net goal with 53 seconds remaining, victory had been secured.

Nashville’s defense won Game 1. Anaheim’s offense won Game 2. We’ll see how this series unfolds as the Predators take home ice in Game 3.

 

 

 

By: Matt Zemek
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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