THE FACTS: The Predators continued to receive production from a variety of sources Sunday afternoon and the role players were the difference in the series-clinching victory at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
THE STAT: In their sixth trip to the postseason, the Predators won their first playoff series in franchise history.
TURNING POINT: With the score tied, 2-2, early in the third period, Jordin Tootoo drove straight at Ducks goalie Ray Emery, who made the save on the close-range shot, but teammate Andreas Lilja crashed into Emery leaving him unable to defend Nick Spaling’s follow up shot with just over 15 minutes remaining in the game.
HOT: In what could be the final game of his Hall of Fame career,Teemu Selanne scored the first goal of the game and postseason-leading sixth of the playoffs. Ducks forward Saku Koivu won the face off and Selanne recovered, taking the puck behind Nashville’s net. He came out the other side and beat goalie Pekka Rinne between his legs. Selanne, who will turn 41 in July, just missed a chance to tie the score with about 10 minutes remaining when his shot from the slot hit the skate of Nashville defenseman Shea Weber and went off the inside of the left post.
NOT: Ducks rookie defenseman Cam Fowler was on ice for the first two Nashville goals and finished with a team-high three giveaways. The Predators tied the score, 1-1, after knocking Fowler off the puck behind his own net. Tootoo recovered and centered a pass to Spaling who scored the first of his two goals. Spaling had just eight goals during the regular season while playing mostly a third-line role.
GOOD MOVE: The Ducks came into the game with a 35% success rate on the power play during the postseason, best among any team in the playoffs. They didn’t get their first man advantage until late in the second period, but capitalized when Jason Blake tipped in a slap shot from Bobby Ryan to tie the score, 2-2, with 1:37 left in the period.
BAD MOVE: The Ducks pulled Emery with about 90 seconds left in the game to get an extra attacker on the ice, but that move was nullified with Koivu committed a tripping penalty on Sergei Kostitsyn with 37.5 seconds remaining. The Predators then scored an empty-net goal with 10 seconds left.
NOTABLE: Nashville forward J.P. Dumont, who was in the lineup because Martin Erat was still sidelined with an upper-body injury from Game 4, assisted on Steve Sullivan’ssecond-period goal, becoming the 18thdifferent Nashville player to get at least a point in series. Rinne even got on the score sheet, assisting on Spaling’s second goal to become the 19thplayer to earn a point in the series. Only defenseman Shane O’Brien failed to score at least a point for the Predators.