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Predators ride Rinne to second round

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RINNE SHINES IN PREDATORS' FIRST-EVER GAME 7
Pekka Rinne made 36 saves, including 12 after the Anaheim Ducks pulled within one goal in the third period, to help the Nashville Predators to victory in their first Game 7 appearance.

* The Predators earned three road wins in a playoff series for the first time in their history (also Games 1 and 2). Nashville improved to 5-2 in all-time playoff games in Anaheim, compared to a 9-18-5 record in 32 visits during the regular season.

* Rinne, who also helped the Predators eliminate the Ducks in the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals, improved to 8-5 in 13 all-time playoff games against Anaheim. He's12-5-4 in 21 career regular-season games against the Ducks (2.29 GAA,.919 SV%, 2 SO).

* Paul Gaustad scored what held up as the game-winning goal, his second career playoff goal (61 GP) and first since Game 1 of the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings. He scored his last game-winning goal in the regular-season on Oct. 11, 2014 against the Dallas Stars.

* The Predators will remain in California to play the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Second Round, the third all-time playoff matchup between the teams. San Jose eliminated Nashville in five games in the 2006 and 2007 Conference Quarterfinals.

* Nashville's victory finalized schedule and broadcast information for the second round.

WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps

Nashville 2, ANAHEIM 1 - NSH wins 4-3
NY Islanders 5, TAMPA BAY 3 - NYI leads 1-0

GAME 7: DID YOU KNOW?
* Via Elias, 28 NHL teams have played in a Game 7. The Predators became the 14th to win their first such appearance and the 10th to do so on the road.

* The previous NHL franchise to make its first Game 7 appearance was the Tampa Bay Lightning, who eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2004 Eastern Conference Final en route to winning the Stanley Cup for the first time.

* Road teams improved to 68-95 (.417) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the team that scores first improved to 121-42 (.742).

* The showdown Wednesday in Anaheim marked the 40th Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2009, the most frequently-occurring series length in that span.

TAVARES NETS (ANOTHER) WINNER AS ISLANDERS TAKE GAME 1
After scoring the tying and overtime goals in the New York Islanders' series-clinching victory on Sunday, captain John Tavares (1-1-2) again provided the decisive goal to help New York win the opening game of the Eastern Conference Second Round.

Video: NYI@TBL, Gm1: Tavares goes top-shelf for PPG

* Tavares, who earned his fourth multi-point game of the postseason, leads the NHL in points (11) and shares top spot in goals (6; tied w/ Nikita Kucherov) thus far in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (7 GP). Overall, he has 11 goals and 22 points in 20 career playoff games.

* Via Elias, Tavares is the first player to earn 20 or more points in his first 20 career playoff games with the Islanders.

* Tavares has 12 goals and 22 points in his past 13 games since March 31 (regular season and playoffs), including eight multi-point games and at least one goal in 10 of those games.

* The Islanders have trailed by at least one goal in four of their five victories this postseason (also Games 1, 3 and 6 of first round against the Florida Panthers). Elias says they overcame a deficit of at least one goal to win 19 times during the regular season, sixth-most in the League.

PRINCE LEADS ISLANDERS' RALLY
The Lightning opened the scoring but the Islanders responded with three goals before the end of the first period, including two in the final 2:32 from forward Shane Prince (2-0-2).

* Elias says Prince become the first Islanders player with multiple goals in the first period of a playoff game since Game 2 of the 1983 Division Finals against the New York Rangers (Duane Sutter: 2).

* Prince, who hails from Rochester, N.Y., had three goal and five points in 20 regular-season games with the Islanders after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 29. He has three goals in seven games this postseason.

BISHOP, HOLTBY AND QUICK VOTED VEZINA TROPHY FINALISTS
The NHL announced that Ben Bishop (Lightning), Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals) and Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings) are the three finalists for the 2015-16 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded "to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position." Click here for more information.

Video: Breaking Down the Vezina Finalists

The NHL will reveal the three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy prior to games Thursday.

NHL LIVEWIRE: The best sounds from a thrilling First Round.

ICYMI: HOCKEY TWITTER'S NEWEST FAN
Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo and Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko  connected with hockey Twitter's newest fan, @soIoucity, during games Wednesday:

SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh @ Washington, 8:00 p.m., CBC, NBCSN, TVAS

CROSBY, OVECHKIN RENEW RIVALRY IN SECOND ROUND
The Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins play the opening game of their ninth all-time playoff series and first since the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, when Pittsburgh defeated Washington in a thrilling seven-game series en route to its third (and most recent) Stanley Cup championship. Washington's Alex Ovechkin had eight goals and 14 points in that series while Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby countered with eight goals and 13 points. Each player had hat tricks in Game 2 and scored in Game 7, but Crosby had two goals and an assistin the finale to lead the Penguins to victory. Ovechkin (525-441-966 in 839 GP) and Crosby (338-600-938 in 707 GP) rank first and second, respectively, in NHL scoring since entering the League in 2005-06. When the puck drops on the series there will be several familiar faces on opposite ends of the rink: Washington's Matt Niskanen (2011-14) and Brooks Orpik (2002-14) both played for the Penguins, while Pittsburgh's Eric Fehr (2005-11 and 2012-15) spent nine of his first 10 NHL seasons with the Capitals.

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