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Perry helps Ducks even series with OT winner

Perry helps Ducks even series with OT winner Bridget Samuels/via Flickr

Anaheim forward ties NHL record with overtime goal

NHL

NASHVILLE-The first three games of this year’s Western Conference Final series had been nothing short of exciting. That set up a tantalizing Game 4 on Thursday night. The Nashville Predators were looking to take a stranglehold on the series. The Anaheim Ducks were looking to tie things up. Thanks to Corey Perry, the Ducks were able to do so.

Perry scored the game winner with 9:35 left in the first overtime to give Anaheim a 3-2 win at Bridgestone Arena and help the Ducks even the Western Conference Final at 2-2.

DUCKS START STRONG

After being outplayed virtually all of Game 3, Anaheim came out of the gates flying. The Ducks took the game to the Predators and dominated the first period.

Anaheim’s strong start would pay off with 8:30 left in the first. Forward Rickard Rakell would give the visitors a 1-0 lead with a slap shot from the left wing that seemed to fool Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. The goal was Rakell’s seventh goal of the playoffs.

The goal would be the highlight of the Ducks’ dominant opening period. Anaheim out-shot Nashville 14-2 in the first. It was franchise record for the fewest shots allowed in a playoff game for the Ducks.

The Predators, though, pushed back in the second. Nashville came out with much more jump and created more chances. Ultimately, they would out-shoot Anaheim 18-12 in the second. However, they would head to the third period down 2-0.

With 9:38 left in the second, forward Nick Ritchie wired a wrist shot past Rinne for his fourth of the postseason to double the Ducks’ lead.

With their 10-game home ice playoff winning streak in jeopardy, the Predators were determined to tie things up in the third. However, they first needed help from their star netminder.

RINNE KEEPS NASHVILLE IN IT

6:59 into the third, the Ducks almost went up 3-0. While on the power-play, forward Jakob Silfverberg found himself all alone in front of the net after receiving a cross ice pass from captain Ryan Getzlaf. With Rinne sliding from right to left, it appeared he would slide out of position and give Silfverberg a wide ope net.

However, Rinne used his entire 6’5″ frame to extend his right pad and stop Silfverberg’s backhand attempt to keep the game at 2-0.

PREDATORS RALLY LATE IN THIRD

With the game winding down, it looked like the Ducks would keep the Predators off the board. P.K. Subban, though, gave the Predators hope.

With 6:27 remaining, Subban’s slap shot from the point found its way through traffic, hit the post, and went in behind Ducks goalie John Gibson to cut Anaheim’s lead in half. The goal was Subban’s second of the playoffs.

Nashville then had a glorious chance to tie the game. With 4:38, the Predators found themselves with a 5-on-3 power-play. The Ducks, however, did an excellent job on the penalty kill to not even allow Nashville a shot on goal and keep the 2-1 lead.

Despite that missed opportunity, the Predators pushed for the tying goal. They would then get it with 34.5 seconds left in the game.

After a failed wraparound attempt by Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg stuffed in the loose puck for his seventh goal of the postseason. Not only was it a big goal for his team, but it was a big goal for Forsberg himself.

He tied the franchise record for most goals in a playoff year. He also became the first player in franchise history to score a goal in four straight playoff games.

Following Forsberg’s tally, the game would head to overtime.

PERRY WINS GAME FOR DUCKS

In overtime, both teams would have chances to win the game. 6:24 into the extra period, Nashville had their best chance to win the game.

A shot from the right wing went wide of the Anaheim net and bounced off the boards to the left wing side of the Ducks’ net. Forsberg was there and it looked like he would have an empty net to bat the puck into. However, Anaheim defenseman Kevin Bieksa dove right before the puck got to Forsberg to clear it away and keep the game tied.

It was Bieksa’s first game in nine games after being out with a lower-body injury.

Three minutes later, Perry would end the game, with help from Subban.

Subban would get to a dump in behind the Nashville goal line. He tried backhanding the puck back around the right wing boards. Perry, though, cut off the attempted clear.

The 32-year-old held on to the puck along the right wing boards and waited just enough for Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm to skate a little bit past him. That gave Perry room to throw the puck toward the goal.

With Nate Thompson waiting in front, Subban got his stick in front of Thompson to try and stop the pass. However, the puck deflected off his stick and past Rinne to give the Ducks the 3-2 win.

PERRY TIES RECORDS

The goal was Perry’s fourth of the playoffs. What’s amazing about his goals this postseason is that three of them have come in overtime. According to the NHL’s media site, Perry tied an NHL record for most overtime goals in a playoff year and is now fifth all-time in NHL history for most career playoff overtime goals with four.

It was also Perry’s eighth career game wining playoff goal. That ties him with Teemu Selanne for most in Ducks history.

The series now shifts to Anaheim for Game 5 on Saturday night (7:15 PM ET, NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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