For a brief moment, it looked like the Nashville Predators were going to cap perhaps their worst postseason performance to date Thursday night with a triumphant finish and push the Anaheim Ducks to the brink of elimination from the Western Conference finals.
After failing to capitalize on a late 5-on-3 advantage, Nashville sealed a comeback from a 2-0 deficit with a Filip Forsberg goal that knotted Game 4 with just over 30 seconds left in regulation, lit up a Bridgestone Arena crowd that, per NBCSN, set a new decibel record and epitomized the flash of the Preds’ wild playoff run.
In the end, however, it was all for naught.
Actually, Nashville fans could argue otherwise, especially since the Preds managed to threaten Anaheim on a mostly off night for the home team’s offensive attack.
But it was the Ducks who left Music City on Thursday night with the edge, pushing and pushing again to claim a 3-2 overtime win, snap Nashville’s double-digit home-ice win streak and even up the conference finals at 2-2.
The Predators’ late rally, kicked off with a P.K. Subban score 13:33 into the third period, was probably more the product of Nashville’s relentless tempo than Anaheim’s failure. And the Ducks, firing 37 shots at Pekka Rinne and giving Nashville’s typically stout defensemen a run for their money thanks to some push from Ryan Getzlaf and frequent swarms in front of the net, did what they needed to do to quiet the Preds crowd.
At one point, the Ducks could very well have gone up 3-0, their efforts stalled only by some eye-popping saves from Rinne. Things were swinging entirely in their direction early on, in fact, as Nashville’s offensive dazzle resulted in little more than, well, dazzle without any goals to show for it.
And while they still coughed up a 2-0 lead, surrendering an improbable last-minute goal that sent the game into overtime and nearly choking at the sight of a Preds push in the extra period, the Ducks clamped down when it mattered, killing all five of Nashville’s power-play tries Thursday night and getting a timely deflection from Nate Thompson. How about Corey Perry coming up big in clutch time once again, too, with his patient strike toward the net?
Anaheim does not exactly have the look of a team that is completely outdoing the Predators, or one that is going to waltz its way through the rest of what has become a best-of-three series. After Thursday night, however, it does have new life.