What a win tonight by YOUR Nashville Predators! Sure, it could’ve been better. They could’ve buried a few more chances and made it a laugher, but a win is a win is a win, right?
Despite beating Nashville by the same 4-3 score on Friday in Anaheim, you didn’t get the feeling that the Ducks gained any momentum. In fact, I would argue the opposite, that Anaheim LOST momentum, despite winning the game. The same cannot be said about tonight’s win at Bridgestone Arena. In game 2, Anaheim scored 2 quick goals, but never really seemed to be in control of the game, just the scoreboard. In game 3, Nashville was clearly the better team on the ice, but Anaheim managed to yank the life out of the arena with two quick goals from Teemu Selanne, and then had another huge goal after giving up the lead again. The pattern seemed somewhat similar: home team takes big lead, away team comes back, home team takes lead, away team comes back, HOME TEAM SCORES TO WIN. Oh, wait, there’s the difference.
On Friday, Nashville was the team applying all the pressure in the 2nd and 3rd periods, and seemed sure to score, only to run out of time. Tonight, Nashville didn’t hang on to a lead – they went out and took the lead. I don’t have a press pass and I don’t know any players on either team, but I imagine that Nashville, while not being thrilled about losing 4-3 in game 2, still felt like the game was theirs to win. I think the sentiment in Anaheim’s locker room after game 3 was exactly the opposite – they were lucky to not get buried 5-0. Check out this quote from Teemu Selanne:
“We had no business in this f—ing game.They wanted it more…We were lucky to even be in the game.”
If I’m in the Ducks locker room, I don’t know if that’s motivating or disheartening. I’m referring to Selanne’s quote AND the results on the scoreboard.
Bottom line: Nashville needs to know that a) they got a little lucky in letting a dangerous opponent back into a lopsided contest and b) that Anaheim should bring a much more spirited effort on Wednesday.
I believe that the first few minutes of game 4 will set the tone for the remainder of the series: either Nashville comes out and re-establishes its dominance, or Anaheim awakens and gets the series back on their terms.
(edit: i just remembered that the ducks added an empty net goal at the end of the game to make the score 5-3, NOT 4-3. oops. i still stand by the rest of what i wrote…)