Thursday, April 14, 2011

Preds Destroy Ducks; Take 1-0 Series Lead

The Nashville Predators started their 2011 Stanley Cup campaign off with a bang, as they beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 at the Honda Center in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Pekka Rinne made 27 saves on the night, and the Predators won their 2nd road playoff game in franchise history.

Shea Weber set the tone for his team right off of the bat. He absolutely destroyed Teemu Selanne into the boards, and then proceeded to blast a power-play goal past Dan Ellis to give the Preds a 1-0 lead. The 1st period was a very physical period, as was the entire game.

In the 2nd period, Steve Sullivan would put the Preds up by two when he came in on a breakaway and scored on his own rebound. Mike Fisher would add to that lead when he snapped a shot that ramped off of a Duck stick and past Ellis. The Preds would be leading 3-0 at the end of two periods.

Fisher picked up where he left off, and put the Preds up 4-0 56 seconds into the 3rd period. He carried the puck into the zone and put another wrister past Ellis from basically the point. That would be the end of the night for Dan Ellis. Anaheim called on Ray Emery to take the reigns of goaltender for the remainder of the game. Of course, it wouldn't be a game against the Ducks if Teemu Selanne didn't appear on the score sheet. The Ageless One scored on the 5-on-3 power-play to pull the Ducks within three, but that's all they would get.

Things to take away from Game 1:

This was an extremely physical game. Expect that trend to continue throughout the series.

Shea Weber and Ryan Suter did a marvelous job containing the Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan line for the night.

Speaking of Corey Perry, he got his face beaten in by Kevin Klein in a fight. I'm often critical of Klein, but I've got to give #8 props for stepping up like that.

Shane O'Brien was an agitator in this game, and it worked well minus the two penalties that he took.

Pekka Rinne was, once again, a huge factor in this game. That trend will have to continue as the series goes along. The Ducks are an extremely talented offensive team. Well, there 1st two lines are anyway.

It's a great win. Now, the Predators have to forget about it and come out even harder on Friday. Anaheim will be desperate for a win on Friday. They don't want to go back to Nashville trailing in the series 0-2. That's exactly what the Predators do want.