NASHVILLE — Corey Perry just keeps finding the net in overtime this post-season, and his third goal in extra time helped the Ducks tie the Western Conference finals at 2-2.
Perry’s shot deflected in off Nashville defenceman P.K. Subban‘s stick 10:25 into overtime, and the Ducks snapped the Predators’ 10-game home playoff winning streak with a 3-2 victory Thursday night.
“I was just trying to create traffic or create a bounce and create havoc in front,” Perry said. “And that’s what they say in overtime: You throw it on net, never know what’s going to happen.”
Perry matched Mel Hill (1939) and Maurice Richard (1951) for the most OT goals in a single post-season in NHL history. Perry also tied Teemu Selanne’s franchise record with his eighth winning goal and moved past Selanne for sole possession of second in Ducks’ history with his 36th post-season goal.
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. The Predators had matched the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings with their 10-game winning streak but missed matching Colorado’s 11-0 playoff run in 1996-97.
Rickard Rakell and Nick Ritchie staked the Ducks to 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.
Perry ended the second overtime in the series with a goal originally credited to Nate Thompson. Perry stopped the puck as the Predators tried to clear and shot from the right boards at a severe angle. Subban stuck out his stick trying to poke-check the puck away only to re-direct it past goalie Pekka Rinne.
“They caught a lucky bounce tonight on the redirect that ended up being a difference maker,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.
The goal finally was credited to Perry after the Ducks appealed to the NHL.
“I don’t really care at this point as long as it goes in the net,” Thompson said.
The Ducks have matched their franchise record with their fourth overtime win this post-season. They are 4-1 with the lone loss in this series opener to Nashville. They went 4-0 in OT on their way to winning the 2007 Stanley Cup.
Game 5 is Saturday night in Anaheim.
“We thought we were outcompeted last game, so it feels good to take care of business and get a split on the road and now it’s best out of three,” Ducks centre Andrew Cogliano said.
The Ducks killed off five penalties, including a 5 on 3 in the third. But the Predators outshot them 11-5 in the third with the late flurry forcing overtime.
Subban scored off a blast from the blue line to revive the standing-room only crowd with Forsberg helping screen Gibson. Forsberg, who started Nashville’s comeback win in Game 3, ensured overtime crashing the net with two teammates and smashing the puck across the line.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Forsberg said. “I don’t think we showed up in the first, and then after that we played better. It’s tough. They’re a good team. We can’t give them a two-goal lead like that.”
Nashville brought out inaugural American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson as the latest big name to sing the national anthem, and rock group Kings of Leon stirred up the crowd by waving from the bandstand in Music City’s latest show of star power. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also was on hand with a franchise-record 17,423 fans.
The Ducks looked much stronger after a day off Wednesday from coach Randy Carlyle, and they pounded the Predators up and down the ice. Defenceman Josh Manson even checked Rinne against the boards behind the net late in the second period.
They also dominated the play early and caught the Predators in a line change with a long pass to Rakell leading to a slap shot that beat Rinne at 11:30 of the first. It was the seventh goal this post-season for Rakell, who led the Ducks with 33 goals during the regular season.
Anaheim wound up outshooting 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.
The Predators opened the second with a bit more energy, matching what they put on net in the first period within a minute. But Ritchie gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead at 10:22 with a wrister from the right circle, beating Rinne’s blocker for his fourth this post-season.
Notes: The Predators said captain Mike Fisher was being evaluated after a collision in front of his own net late in regulation. … This was the 47th one-goal game this post-season, four short of the record set in 207. … The Ducks previously had allowed three shots in a period in the post-season six different times, the last in the first period of Game 5 of the Western finals May 25, 2015, against Chicago. … Forsberg tied a franchise record with his seventh goal this post-season. … Viktor Arvidsson had two assists for Nashville.