Ducks eager for rematch with Rinne's Predators in West final

And that might have been the difference Friday night, as the Ducks struggled to keep pace with the Predators in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, falling in overtime, 3-2. Both times I've played them, it's been a six-game series and a seven-game series.

The Leafs were fortunate to have a strong offensive game led by Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner. With Anaheim pressing for the equalizer, Hampus Lindholm forced overtime with a wrist shot from the point that Rinne might not have seen. Swiss defenseman Roman Josi also scored for Nashville. In Round 2, the Western Conference teams took that madness, turned it up to 11 and - more than likely - made a lot of people wish they hadn't bet any money on teams that have now started their summers early.

Gibson will have to consistently rise to the occasion for Anaheim to have a realistic chance of reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Four of which were decided by one goal. If Game 1 - or the opening round matchup between these two clubs a year ago, for that matter - is any indication, there will be plenty of close games in this series.

Hornqvist for Neal has worked out for Nashville, too, but nothing like the three other swashbuckling moves Poile has made: getting then-prospect Filip Forsberg from Washington at the 2012 deadline for Martin Erat and Michael Latta, trading Seth Jones to Columbus for Ryan Johansen last season and shocking the hockey world by getting P.K. Subban from Montreal for Shea Weber last June. "If that's Johansen for me, I've got to be better than him then". Nashville is 5-0 at Bridgestone Arena this postseason thanks in large part to Pekka Rinne, who's knocked aside 141 of 147 shots for a.959 save percentage. But even more importantly they're focused on the way they're playing, and know they can still get better.

That same Sunday, Edmonton thrashed Anaheim to the tune of a 7-1 blowout.

Goalie performance so far in the playoffs: Forward Viktor Arvidsson has the best description of Pekka Rinne's play, as told to Arpon Basu for NHL.com: "He's been our best player in the whole playoffs so far, making saves that you don't think are possible and keeping us in games".

A three-goal second period by Anaheim and a third period Ducks empty netter lifted them to a 5-3 decision over the Predators. Pekka Rinne and company have annihilated the competition, sweeping the heavily favored Chicago Blackhawks and making nearly equally as quick work of the St. Louis Blues. The second-round victory over Edmonton went the distance, becoming their first triumph for the franchise after losing the first two games. "Nashville was the fresher team early but I liked the way we got back into the game after the first period".

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"Whoever wins the series gets to play for the Cup", Predators captain Mike Fisher said.

In this April 17, 2017, file photo, country music star Carrie Underwood performs the national anthem before Game 3 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series between the Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks, in Nashville, Tenn. Continue to initiate the physicality and bring the energy and the Nashville Predators will be in a position to take a 2-0 series lead. The Ducks went 0-for-4 with the man advantage on Friday - a stat that stands out in a game decided after the end of regulation time. Take the three won by Southern California's two National Hockey League teams.

The second Nashville tally was particularly discouraging in that goaltender John Gibson lost sight of the puck so completely that James Neal could have scored using a spatula.

In desperate need of an adrenaline-spiking spark, it helped that the Ducks had a player whose motor compares favorably to an American television icon, pink floppy ears and all.

The Senators improved 6-1 in overtime during the playoffs. If you look at the first period, they really came on us with a lot of pressure.

Coaching advantage: With two veteran coaches behind the bench in Randy Carlyle and Peter Laviolette, we're calling this a draw. D Kevin Bieksa missed his sixth straight game, while F Patrick Eaves missed his fourth straight game with a leg injury.