A year ago to the day, the Nashville Predators had the lead in a pivotal game 5 Western Conference Quarter Final against Chicago with under a minute to play. Nashville went on the power play, but then surrendered a shorthanded goal, tying the game. As all Predators fans remember so well, Nashville went on to lose the game and the series in game six at home.
- Legwand’s empty-net goal was insurance for Nashville, who defeated the Ducks 4-2
Sunday night, history was made, but not repeated when the Predators went into the final minute of game 6 against the Ducks with a one-goal lead, and on the power play.
Instead of giving up a goal, David Legwand scored in the empty net.
The first ever player to be drafted by the Nashville Predators added the insurance giving the Predators the two-goal lead with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
“It’s a huge thing for us to move on and get to continue playing. It means a bit. We get to play in round two. There are only going to be 8 teams playing, so that’s exciting for us to get a chance to do,” Legwand said when asked what it meant for him personally to be moving on to the next round.
The Nashville Predators visit the Anaheim Ducks tonight in game one of the Western Conference Quarter-Finals. The Predators just narrowly missed out on home ice advantage when they lost last Saturday, 2-0, against the Blues to end out the regular season.
Anaheim’s top line consists of Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, and Ryan Getzlaf. Combined the three have 103 goals and 142 assists.
Predators defenseman Cody Franson says the key to playing against Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan is to play a physical game. “They are probably the best line in the League. When you are playing against guys of that calibre, that size and that skill set, you want to play physical against them and take away their time and space. You know, make it tough on them,” he said.
The Predators drawing the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Quarter-finals pits a defensive club against one with an explosive offense. When looking at goaltending, defense, as well as offense there is no question where the Predators come out on top and where the Ducks have an advantage. Pekka Rinne has played 10 games against the Ducks and boasts a 6-2-2 record. Rinne’s goals against average is 2.15 and has a .930 save percentage against Anaheim.
The Ducks will start the series with Dan Ellis in goal. Ray Emery is out with a lower body injury. Jonas Hiller has played backup as of late, but has yet to start a game since playing, and getting chase from the net, against Nashville allowing three quick goals in the middle of March.
Ellis, the former Nashville Predator, has only played two times against his former club, once as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightening and the other in relief of Hiller at Bridgestone Arena on March 24th. During those two games, Ellis has a goals against average of 3.43 and a .867 save percentage.
It took the last day of the NHL’s regular season, but the Nashville Predators finally know who they will face in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
- How will Dan Ellis do against his former team in Round 1?
For the second consecutive year, the Predators face a new opponent in the post season. And for the sixth time, Nashville is looking for their first playoff series win.
Can Nashville beat the Anaheim Ducks?
Like Nashville, the Ducks had a tremendous second half of the season to make their way into a post season position. Since the start of March, Anaheim went 14-5-0 to finish the season. One of those losses came against the Predators.