This was the night the
Stymied time after time by
Nashville is still an untraditional hockey market, but the Predators are establishing a tradition of winning here. They're 6-0 at home in these playoffs and have won 10 straight home playoff games dating to last season. Their fans have become a palpable presence in supporting their every push and generating enough energy to inspire them to keep their legs churning and hearts beating fast.
“They didn’t surprise us. We knew what was going to happen,” Ducks right wing
They weren't as prepared as they believed, and Gibson kept his teammates in the game far longer than their effort probably merited.
"Gibson played great in net," said Filip Forsberg, who tied the score at 1-1 at 3:54 of the third period, "but at the same time we just kept pounding them, and I think that was the key."
The Predators came in waves, shots coming in torrents, though Ducks coach
"You know, you think you're playing a good game. It's so tight," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said.
"The scores at this time of the year generally are fairly low. And you wonder if 1-0 is going to do it for the night."
But his team continued to press into the third and was rewarded when Forsberg converted the rebound of a shot by
Despite those disappointments, the Predators remained focused and continued to swarm over the fading Ducks before they finally capitalized on that late power play.
Gibson was helpless on the game winner, which was set up when a shot by Ekholm hit teammate Viktor Arvidsson and caromed to Josi in the right circle.
“He was incredible. He played awesome,” Ducks captain
The Ducks had been 5-0-0 in games they led after the second period, but the Predators didn't let them extend that streak. Getzlaf said it was partly the Ducks' own fault.
"I didn't think we executed with the puck properly tonight, which caused us a lot [more] headaches than needed," he said. "They were good around our net. They played hard at our net, bumping our goalie all night long, and we didn't do a good enough job getting inside."
Being behind isn't a new situation for the Ducks, who lost the first two games of their second-round series against Edmonton but came back to win in seven games. The Predators, competing in their first conference finals, have never been in this situation before, but they and their fans are making a lot of noise this spring.