Filip Forsberg comes through again for Predators against Ducks in Game 3

The Anaheim Ducks have evened the NHL's Western Conference finals at a game apiece by erasing deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 in a 5-3 verdict over the visiting Nashville Predators. Antoine Vermette scored into an empty net with 43.6 seconds left to even the series at 1-1.

The Nashville Predators host the Anaheim Ducks in game three of the NHL Western Conference final on May 16 at 8pm EST.

The Predators hadn't allowed four goals in any game during their excellent Stanley Cup playoff run before Anaheim finally got rolling for its sellout crowd. Jakob Silfverberg opened the scoring at 5:15 of the first period on Anaheim's first shot of the game.

Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson scored in regulation for the Predators, who improved to 9-2 in this National Hockey League postseason.

Heading into the Ducks-Preds showdown, the buzzed-about goaltender was Nashville's Pekka Rinne, and rightly so - the veteran's numbers were otherworldly against Chicago and St. Louis, while Gibson has already been yanked twice in the post-season, giving way to backup Jonathan Bernier.

"They have a lot of talent out there", Johansen said. Not only did the Predators kill off the penalty, they came back and eventually scored on a power play of their own to defeat the Ducks 2-1 on Tuesday night. The Under is 3-0-2 in Nashville's five home playoff games to this point, with the trends pointing toward a lower scoring pair of games coming up in Music City between the Ducks and Predators in this series. The Ducks also got several good saves from Gibson, who has raised his level of play from the first two rounds. Vatanen's goal came on the powerplay which has been weak part of the Ducks' game lately.

"Being at home here, I think, is an advantage for us because of the environment and the atmosphere that the fans bring", coach Peter Laviolette said.

Forsberg scored his fifth playoff goal at 7:59 for a 3-2 Nashville edge, but Kase tied it again with his first postseason goal at 10:41 of the second.

Ducks defenseman Josh Manson said Kesler would be in his head a little bit if he was playing against one of the finalists for the Selke trophy given to the NHL's best defensive forward. No one has gotten to the Predators since. Anaheim's power play was scoreless in 21 straight attempts dating to Game 2 of the second round against Edmonton, but Vatanen beat Rinne cleanly with a slap shot for his first goal of the postseason.

"He just blows my mind", said Johansen to media members after Game 2.

Gibson handled 38 shots for the Ducks, who stay in Nashville for Game 4 on Thursday. As much as general managers complain that it's hard to make deals because of the cap, Pittsburgh's Jim Rutherford, Ottawa's Bryan Murray and Pierre Dorion, Nashville's David Poile and Anaheim's Bob Murray have shown a knack for getting good ones done.

Gibson also had a awful game in Game 5 at home against the Oilers, giving up 3 goals over the span of 10 minutes in the second period. His shot was kicked away by Gibson, but Forsberg was right there on the rebound for his sixth goal of the postseason to equalize things less than 4:00 into the third. The Ducks went scoreless on four power plays. When officials first waved off a would-be goal by Colton Sissons at 6:25 and then Ryan Johansen's goal at 6:33, fans started tossing towels onto the ice.

  • Julie Sanders