PREDATORS CLAIM OT VICTORY IN CONFERENCE FINALS DEBUT
Forward James Neal scored at 9:24 of overtime - on the Predators' 46th shot of the game - to lead Nashville to a 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks in its first game in the Western Conference Final at Honda Center on Friday.
Game 2 is Sunday at Honda Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports.
* The Predators improved to 9-2 in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 6-2 in eight all-time postseason games at Anaheim.
* Neal, who scored his fourth goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, had his second career playoff overtime goal (69 GP) and first with the Predators. He had not scored in an overtime playoff game since playing with the Pittsburgh Pernguins in the 2011 conference quarterfinals at the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Video: Top Shelf: NHL's best plays of Friday night
* Center Ryan Johansen assisted on each regulation goal, and had 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 11 postseason games, two points shy of equaling the most by a Predators player in one playoff year.
* The Ducks and Predators contested the 24th overtime game of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (four have required multiple extra periods), four shy of matching the NHL record for most in a single playoff year (28 in 85 games in 1993).
* Friday marked the 43rd one-goal game this postseason (69 GP, 62.3%). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the record for one-goal games in a single playoff year was established in 2007, when 51 of 81 games (63%) were decided by one goal.
Video: Clutch Performance: Neal nets OT winner to open WCF
Home Team in Caps
Nashville 3, ANAHEIM 2 (OT) - NSH leads 1-0
SENATORS, PENGUINS SET FOR EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins host the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports). They are meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth time; The Senators won their first series against the Penguins in five games in the first round in 2007 en route to their lone Stanley Cup Final appearance, but Pittsburgh has advanced in each of the three meetings since (2008 CQF (4-0); 2010 CQF (4-2); and 2013 CSF (4-1).
* Penguins center Sidney Crosby has 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) against the Senators in the plaayoffs, his most against any opponent. Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin, who leads all playoff scorers this season with 18 points (five goals, 13 assists), has 24 points against Ottawa (eight goals, 16 assists) in 24 postseason games.
* Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, who leads all players at his position in playoff scoring with 13 points (two goals, 11 assists), already has set Ottawa records for assists and points in one playoff year by a defenseman. Each of his two goals were game-winners, making him the only defenseman in Senators history have multiple game-winning goals in a single playoff year.
Video: Hradek previews Penguins vs Senators Conference Final
Team Leaders, Goals:
Jake Guentzel (PIT): 9
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (OTT): 7
Team Leaders, Assists:
Evgeni Malkin (PIT): 13
Erik Karlsson (OTT): 11
Team Leaders, Points:
Evgeni Malkin (PIT): 5-13-18 in 12 GP
Erik Karlsson (OTT): 2-11-13 in 12 GP
Projected Starting Goaltenders:
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT): 8-4, 2.55 GAA, .927 SV%, 1 SO
Craig Anderson (OTT): 8-4, 2.49 GAA, .914 SV%, 1 SO
Video: SAP Stats: OTT vs. PIT statistical analysis
Teams that win the first game in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series hold an all-time series record of 456-208 (68.7%), including a 9-3 mark this season. … Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 43 saves Friday to establish a playoff career high. … Anaheim forward Jakob Silfverberg scored his eighth goal of the postseason to tie center Ryan Getzlaf for the team lead and for second in the NHL behind Penguins forward Jake Guentzel (9). Only three players in Ducks history have scored more goals in a single postseason: Andy McDonald (10 in 2007), Corey Perry (10 in 2015) and Joffrey Lupul (9 in 2006).
SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Ottawa @ Pittsburgh, Game 1, 7 p.m., CBC, SN, TVAS, NBC