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5 Reasons: Why Ducks were eliminated

Perry's struggles, Rinne's performance led to another Game 7 loss

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Another year, another Game 7 loss.

It's become a troubling trend for the Anaheim Ducks, who lost a fourth straight Game 7 on home ice and were eliminated by the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference First Round on Wednesday.

Here are five reasons the Ducks were eliminated:

1. Dug themselves a hole: The Ducks lost the first two games of the series at Honda Center and allowed the first goal in four of the seven games. They overcame a 1-0 deficit in Game 5, but it was the only game they rallied in the series.

"There's not much to say. I thought we did enough to win," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said after the 2-1 loss in Game 7. "I don't think they outplayed us at all. They got two goals in the first period and they held on. [Predators goalie] Pekka [Rinne] played good, but other than that I thought we did enough to win. We didn't. That's the story."

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm7: Wilson makes slick move to provide lead

2. Corey Perry: Perry led the Ducks with 34 goals during the regular season. But against the Predators the forward had four assists and was a minus-7.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau put Perry and Ryan Getzlaf back together in Games 6 and 7 but only for limited shifts, and the longtime linemates couldn't rediscover their chemistry.

"We could have used [a goal] from him, but I know one thing is that he left it all out there [Wednesday]," Boudreau said. "It's not easy to score goals and we would have obviously loved one in the third [period]. He had five or six really good chances but he was snake bit the whole series."

3. Pekka Rinne: The Predators goalie had moments when he looked shaky, especially playing pucks behind his net. But when the Predators needed a big save, he was there. Rinne allowed two goals in the final two games and withstood the Ducks' final barrage in Game 7. The Ducks outshot the Predators 28-10 during the final two periods but Rinne made 27 saves.

"I thought we threw everything at them," Perry said. "A bounce here, a bounce there, and it can be a different story."

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm7: Rinne halts Perry, Ducks late in 3rd

4. Lack of 5-on-5 offense: Anaheim's two goals in the final two games came on the power play. Their last 5-on-5 goal was in Game 5. In the final two games, the Predators outscored the Ducks 5-0 at even strength.

Part of that could be attributed to Nashville's neutral-zone defense, which bottled up the Anaheim attack.

5. Failure to close the series early: This is not the first the time the Ducks have had difficulty finishing a series. They had a 3-2 series leads in prior postseasons against the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks yet lost all three series in seven games. They led this best-of-7 series 3-2 with a chance to advance in Nashville. Instead they never led at any point in the final two games.

"We were playing catch-up the whole game, the whole series and all year," Getzlaf said. "It came back to bite us here at the end."

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