Mike Fisher scored the game-winning goal at 10:21 of the third period in a game filled with intensity as the Nashville Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 on Sunday night and took a 2-1 series lead.
Martin Erat and Jordan Tootoo scored 38 seconds apart in the first period to give the Predators a quick two goal lead.
Erat’s goal came on the power play after he knocked the puck in on a rebound from a Cody Franson shot.
Tootoo showed off some skilled forechecking in the Ducks zone and chipped the puck past goalie Ray Emery, who was getting his second straight start of the series after winning Game 2 for the Ducks.
Teemu Selanne replied for Anaheim in the second period with two goals of his own just 30 seconds apart. The goals were Selanne’s third and fourth of the series and were both assisted by Corey Perry.
The Ducks offence looked out of sync before Selanne’s two goals with Bobby Ryan out of the line up due to suspension. Ryan will miss games 3 and 4 after being disciplined for foot stomping defenseman Jonathan Blum’s foot in Game 2.
The Ducks only seemed to respond once captain Ryan Getzlaf dropped the gloves with Mike Fisher. Carrie Underwood, Fisher’s country-music star of a wife, looked on with concern from a private box. The Ducks two goals came shortly after the fight.
The third period started very similar to the first period for the Predators as David Legwand and Mike Fisher both scored to break the tie and get an insurance goal that would wind up being the game winner.
A goal by Ducks Matt Beleskey at 6:48 of the third period was too little too late for the Ducks who could not come back a second time from being down two goals.
Predators Pekka Rinne only needed 13 saves for the win while his Ducks counterpart, Emery, had 33 saves on the night to keep his team alive for all 60 minutes.
Game 4 will be held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wed., April 20.
Notes: Game 2 was Ray Emery’s first start of the playoffs since game 3 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals…Fisher was an assist away from getting a Gordie Howe hat trick…Selanne leads the series in goals…Anaheim went 1 for 2 on the power play, Nashville went 1 for 5