The Anaheim Ducks scored twice in the second and three times in the third to take Game Five by a 5-2 final over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night at the Honda Center. Anaheim won their third consecutive game to take a 3-2 series lead, leaving the Preds on the brink of elimination.
“We have a good leadership group in there, and I think that’s the starting point; when we look back on this game, there’s a lot of good things that we did,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “And I hate the score.”
“There’s only a couple things I think we’ll need to touch up, and then just throw it back at them,” forward Ryan Johansen said. “We need the same effort and some consistent battle level and hopefully get the results we want.”
After a scoreless first period, in which the Preds had a number of quality chances on 13 shots, they converted in the second. Colin Wilson found Ryan Johansen, who walked out from the corner and floated a backhander over the shoulder of Frederik Andersen for a 1-0 lead. But just 22 seconds later, Anaheim got a bounce as a David Perron shot deflected on the way in and just over top of the outstretched glove of Pekka Rinne to knot things at 1-1.
The Ducks took the lead at 16:23 when Ryan Garbutt stuffed the puck home at the side of the net for his first of the playoffs and a 2-1 Anaheim lead to carry into the second intermission.
Sami Vatanen added Anaheim’s third goal on a breakaway before Miikka Salomaki scored his first-career Stanley Cup Playoff goal to bring the Preds to within one. But Cam Fowler scored a late power-play goal for the Ducks to regain a two-goal lead, before Anaheim added one more into an empty net.
The Preds now head home facing an elimination contest on Monday night, something they have to take one period, one shift, one play at a time. Although the Ducks have won their last three games, someone has to win four to take the series, and that hasn’t happened yet.
“We’re going to take the good things from this game, we’re going to go home and regroup and be ready to play,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I have no question that our guys will be ready.”
“You look at any team that’s won the Cup and it’s never been smooth sailing though the playoffs,” Johansen said. “Adversity is going to hit and our backs are against the wall now. One thing in our favor is we’re going home to a city that’s going to be buzzing to try and help us and be there with us and support us. Our job is to throw on the jersey at home and try and bring it back here to Anaheim.”
Gif of the Game:
Shea Weber shoves down Corey Perry at the blue line.
Ryan Johansen on the series not being over yet:
“That’s why it a best-of-seven series. My little brother’s team actually was in a game seven in Kelowna versus Victoria and they tied it up with 0.2 seconds left in Game Seven and won in overtime. It’s a funny game, you get some bounces sometimes, and they got theirs tonight. Hopefully we can keep up our same effort and battle level and get some bounces to go our way.”
Craig Smith missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury and remains day-to-day.
Game Six between the Preds and Ducks comes Monday night in Nashville, with the start time yet to be announced.
Preds forward Ryan Johansen shares his thoughts as Nashville heads toward a do-or-die Game Six at home.
Infographic: Preds Fall on the Road