Predators take 2-1 series lead over Ducks

How it happened: In the franchise's first home game in the conference finals, Nashville nearly played second fiddle to Gibson. He certainly kept the Ducks afloat in the second period, which started with the Predators owning an 8-0 shot advantage through the first 11:41.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette lamented his team allowing two goals within 1:39 near the end of the first and the start of the second period.

Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson apparently eclipsed Gibson with one of the NHL's all-time most comprehensive screens, Gibson looking and leaning to his left as Neal flipped the puck into the sudden open space to his right.

Nick Ritchie broke a 3-3 tie late in the second period on an assist from Ryan Getzlaf, who set up three goals. Ottawa Senators' Bobby Ryan, left, celebrates with teammates Mark Stone (61) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) after scoring the game-winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the overtime period of Game 1 of the Eastern.

For good measure, Antoine Vermette added an empty-net goal with 44 seconds to play. Pekka Rinne struggled in net for Nashville, stopping just 22-of-26 shots. Two of his three goals in the playoffs have been game-winners. Bob Murray also cleared the way for goaltender John Gibson to be the man, sending Frederik Andersen to Toronto last summer in a trade that could be talked about for years to come if the Dane helps the Maple Leafs on a run like this.

Anaheims Ryan Kesler was booed nearly every time he touched the puck on Tuesday night, but most of the venom during the third period was saved for referees Brad Meier and Wes McCauley, who had the audacity to disallow two Nashville goals.

"I wish we didn't get down in the first place, but I think we have three or four lines that get going and just keep punching through", Ducks forward Rickard Rakell said.

Anaheim's Ryan Kesler, who's always been one for getting under the skin of the opposition, may have took it to another level against Johansen on Sunday night.

"I just lost sight of it for a second", said Gibson, who says little when he plays well, and even less the rest of the time.

The Predators have been a model of consistency while going 9-2 in the post-season, and they think much of the credit should be placed on a defensive corps that might be the best in the playoffs. In their Game 2 triumph, Vatanen scored while Cam Fowler had two assists and Shea Theodore, Josh Manson and Brandon Montour each had one. And as a team that's - it gives us that extra boost.

"We believe that we can go in any building and play with the teams that we're up against and give ourselves a chance for success", Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. After the game, he said he just has to focus on his game. And when we say big, we mean they were literally big guys.

The ocean continues to the third round of the playoffs for the Stanley Cup. No one has gotten to the Predators since. "Go Preds! Hoping they can get to the finals, that would be awesome", he said recently.

But look closer at Gibson's larger body of work and you'll see a young netminder who has been very good and is now heating up to great.

It was so just barely, in fact, that Kase didn't even recognize this shining moment of his career as it happened in real time.

  • Julie Sanders