By Michael Donovan
Corey Perry’s shot that deflected off Nashville defenseman P. K. Subban’s stick 10 minutes 25 seconds into overtime gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators that evened the Western Conference finals at 2.
John Gibson made 32 saves for Anaheim, which was the last team to beat the Predators in Nashville in the playoffs, last spring in game 4 of their first-round series.
Rickard Rakell and Nick Ritchie scored to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. But Subban scored with 6:27 left, and Filip Forsberg tied it with 34.5 seconds remaining in regulation with his fourth goal in four games.
The Predators had matched the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings with their 10-game winning streak but fell short of the Colorado Avalanche’s 11-0 playoff run in 1996-97.
Perry’s goal, which was originally credited to Nate Thompson, ended the second overtime game in this series. Perry’s shot from near the right boards deflected off Subban’s stick and past goaltender Pekka Rinne as Subban tried to poke-check the puck away. It was Perry’s third overtime goal this year.
Game 5 is Saturday night in Anaheim.
The Ducks killed off five penalties, including a 5-on-3 in the third period. But the Predators outshot them by 11-5 in the third, a late flurry that helped force overtime.
Subban scored off a blast from the blue line with Forsberg helping screen Gibson, reviving the standing-room only crowd. Then Anaheim defenseman Kevin Bieksa, playing his first game since the opener against Edmonton in the second round, went to the box for high-sticking Forsberg. Just 29 seconds later, defenseman Josh Manson slashed James Neal.
That gave Nashville a 5-on-3 for 1:31, with 4:38 left, but the Predators could not get the puck past Gibson.
Forsberg, who started Nashville’s comeback win in Game 3, ensured overtime when he crashed the net with two teammates and smashed the puck across the line.
Nashville brought out the American Idol winner in Kelly Clarkson as the latest big name to sing the national anthem, and the rock group Kings of Leon waved from the bandstand to help rally the franchise-record 17,423 fans in attendance.
The Ducks looked much stronger after a day off Wednesday from Coach Randy Carlyle, and they pounded the Predators up and down the ice.
Anaheim outshot Nashville 14-2 in the first period thanks to the Predators being credited for a shot during the intermission. It was the fewest shots ever allowed by the Ducks in a period.