Nashville Predators Take First Game of Western Conference Final
Johansen got his third multi-point game of the 2017 NHL Playoffs as he assisted on both of the Predators goals in regulation. He also led all Nashville forwards with 22:32 of ice time in a game where the Predators did a good job evening out the ice time of their top three lines. He was dominant during most of the game as he posted a Corsi-for percentage for of 57% while starting the majority of his shifts in the offensive zone.
Rinne didn’t have the busiest game of his career. He faced just 29 shots in almost 70 minutes of ice time. He may wish he had gotten the first goal from Jakob Silfverberg back, but it was a very well placed shot from the Anaheim winger. While he had periods of dry spells during the game, and had to wait 5 minutes to even face his first shot of the game he was sharp when the Predators needed him to be.
Neal finished the game with just under 20 minutes of ice time good enough for 4th among Nashville forwards. In some sheltered offensive zone starts Neal did well with a Corsi-for percentage of 59%, while finishing with six shots on goal second to only the incredibly 7 shots from Ryan Ellis. During the play leading up to his OT winner Neal escaped a check from Sami Vatanen along the boards before positioning himself in the right circle where he received the puck from P.K. Subban, and one timed it off of Corey Perry and past a sprawling Gibson.
Getzlaf was once again one of the better players for the Ducks. His Corsi-for percentage of 52% isn’t amazing, but it should be seen in the light of him starting less than a third of his shifts in the offensive zone. The Ducks powerplay unit never became a well oiled machine, but Getzlaf did have moments of creativity where he attempted to get the Ducks going. He also had one of the Ducks best chances of the night early in the third period right after a Ducks powerplay ended.
Unlike his counterpart in the Predators net, Gibson had plenty to do in this game. As the game went on Nashville never really let off the Ducks for long periods of time which meant Gibson ended the night having faced 43 shots. He had more than one potential game saving stop, with his biggest coming with about eight minutes left as he slid across his crease to stop Roman Josi on a 5-on-3 Nashville powerplay.