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Ducks v Predators - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals

Ducks learn important lessons in loss

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

"I think we're too good a team to be sitting here." -- Bobby Ryan

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Anaheim Ducks filed into the corridors of Honda Center on Tuesday at about the same time they would for a morning skate, but they never stepped on the ice.

Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal-round series against Nashville would have been Tuesday night at home, and there was a feeling they should still be playing. 

Selanne undecided on future

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

"I got to be honest –it was so much fun this year. That's all I really ask. It's not about goals or points or anything like that. Before the season I hoped I can everyday enjoy this. That's my goal. This year was successful in a fun way."
-- Teemu Selanne

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Teemu Selanne offered no surprises to what his future holds when he met with the media Tuesday after his Anaheim Ducks were knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Nashville Predators.

"Honestly, I don't know," he said. "I shouldn't even answer that question anymore. I let you know when I know something. I think it's funny. Almost every year, everybody keeps asking. I have to say, 'Don't ask me.' I don't know."

Selanne, as he has done for the past several seasons, said he will wait until the summer to decide if he will return for a 19th season. He turns 41 on July 3.

Preds relishing first series victory

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the immediate aftermath of the franchise's first-ever playoff series victory, Nashville coach Barry Trotz and general manager David Poile talked about what an important step it was for the 13-year-old organization.

"You wait a long time for something like that," Poile said minutes after congratulating players in the locker room following the 4-2 win against Anaheim on Sunday that gave Nashville a 4-2 series victory. "It's such a big thing organizationally. As a manager, you're building everything, putting everything together for scouts that drafted all these guys. For our coaches who put in unbelievable hours to get this. For our fans who are the best in the League. Everyone says that, it's a cliché, but are there any fans who are louder than these?

"This is unbelievable. And then to our players who got it done. It's a good first step, as Barry would say."

Tootoo sparks Preds to second round

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Dec. 27, when Nashville Predators right wing Jordin Tootoo voluntarily entered the NHL's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, he seemed a longshot to be the player who would earn the primary assist on both the winning goals in Games 5 and 6 of the first-round of the playoffs, helping his team earn its first victory in a playoff series.

But that's exactly what he did. After assisting on Jerred Smithson's overtime goal on Friday in Game 5, Tootoo picked up two more primary assists in Game 6, including on Nick Spaling's game-winner at 4:53 of the third period. His five points (one goal, four assists) tie him for second on the team in the playoffs
with Shea Weber and Joel Ward. Mike Fisher is the team leader with six points.

With Erat out, Dumont fills void for Preds

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One of the hardest things for a hockey player – especially a goal-scorer – is to be out of the rhythm of the game and then be called up on to go and produce.

In the final minute of regulation of Nashville's 4-3 overtime win against Anaheim in Game 5, Predators coach Barry Trotz sent right wing J-P Dumont on the ice with goalie Pekka Rinne pulled to try and tie the game – Dumont's first shift in seven or eight minutes, the player said.

Dumont, who did not play in the first four games of the series, only got in the game because of an upper-body injury suffered by Martin Erat in Game 4 that sidelined Erat for Game 5. Dumont finished Game 5 with only 11 shifts – an overtime game, at that -- and less than seven minutes.

Rinne looks to return to Vezina-caliber standard

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- When one sees Pekka Rinne fill up the net with his 6-foot-5 frame and stop the puck with remarkable athleticism, it's difficult to think of a more imposing goaltender in hockey.

It's even more difficult to believe Rinne was taken in the eighth round, with the 258th pick, in 2004, and this was just his third full season in the NHL.

Even Rinne is surprised at his quick ascension to the ranks of the elite goalies in the world, which was confirmed by his nomination for the Vezina Trophy on Friday.

Predators will play Game 5 without Erat

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Predators forward Martin Erat, who tied for the team lead in points during the regular season with 50, did not practice on Thursday and will not travel to Anaheim for Game 5 on Friday.

This came one day after Erat was on the receiving end of a high hit from Ducks forward Jarkko Ruutu in Game 4 of the teams' Western Conference quarterfinal series.

The hit came about four minutes into the second period and Erat was taken off the ice to Nashville's locker room and did not return. The Predators said Erat's injury was an "upper body" injury.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz was asked how Nashville would replace Erat.

Ducks finding ways to make Rinne look ordinary

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- During the NHL's regular season, Predators goalie Pekka Rinne had some of the best numbers at his position. Through the first four games of the playoffs, he has some of the worst, ranking 15th of 17 in goals-against average (3.73) and 16th of 17 in save percentage (.860).

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle has hinted throughout the series that the Ducks have found a chink in the 6-foot-5 Rinne's armor. Is it possible that Anaheim has found something that eluded the rest of the League all season? Or is it possible that the Ducks simply have some of League's top shooters -- Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne, who have combined for 11 goals (including one empty-netter) -- and Carlyle is doing his best to play mind games with Rinne?

Corey Perry comes through again for Ducks

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the Anaheim Ducks locker room after their 6-3 win against the Predators on Wednesday night, Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf asked teammate Corey Perry if he knew who Vince Gill was.

Gill is the Music City-based country star who, as he performed during first intermission, invited the Bridgestone Arena fans to chant, "Perry is a sissy."

Perry seemed oblivious, but, regardless, something was motivating the right wing, the League's only 50-goal scorer during the regular season and a leading candidate to win the Hart Trophy.

Perry broke a 3-3 tie with a shorthanded goal 1:17 into the third period and added a pair of assists to take the playoff scoring lead with 8 points. More important, he helped the Ducks send their conference quarterfinal series against Nashville back to Southern California all even at two wins apiece.

Fowler turning heads in first trip through playoffs

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- When Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle was looking for something to praise out of his team's 4-3 loss to Nashville in Game 3 of this Western Conference quarterfinal on Tuesday, he found one in the play of rookie defenseman Cam Fowler.

With the score tied in the third period Sunday, Fowler broke in alone on Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. He wristed the puck high to Rinne's right shoulder, but the 6-foot-5 Finn got a blocker on it and turned the shot aside. The Predators' victory earned them a 2-1 edge in the best-of-7 series entering Game 4 Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena.

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