The Ducks should never have been in that overtime, season-on-the-brink situation. After being outshot 40-20 in a 2-1 loss in Game 3, the Ducks came out aggressive on offense in Game 4. Rickard Rakell opened the scoring at 11:20 in the first period, and the Ducks outshot the Predators 14-2 in that period. Nick Ritchie added a goal, his fourth of the postseason, midway through the second period, and with John Gibson looking sharp in the crease, the game appeared in Anaheim’s control.
“The one thing we wanted to make sure we established was a strong start, and we did that, with an exclamation mark,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said after the game.
But in the third period, the Ducks came unglued. Anaheim picked up a couple of cheap penalties late in regulation, and the Predators set up shop down at the Ducks end of the ice, outshooting Anaheim 11-5 in the third. For about 90 seconds, they had a 5-on-3 power play. P.K. Subban scored the Predators’ first goal at the 13:33 mark, just seconds after the end of a Nashville power play.
In fairness, the NHL’s best regular-season team has run into the best playoff story in Marc-Andre Fleury.
The veteran netminder was sensational in turning aside 36 of 38 shots. To date, he’s Pittsburgh’s unquestioned MVP and he will be on another team’s roster in a few months.
Pittsburgh’s win, most importantly, allows Crosby time to fully recover from concussion symptoms that can be so tricky, so temperamental. There’s no sense of urgency to have him in the lineup for Game 5 or even Game 6 if it comes down to that. The Penguins proved their mettle; now the Capitals Hockey Jerseys Cheap are forced to do the same.
“We’ll see what we are made of,” Oshie said after Wednesday’s Good Cheap Jerseys loss. “That’s a good question for us. It’s been the question everyone has been asking for a couple years.”