The Ducks and Preds took their war back to Smashville and Bridgestone Arena lived up to all the hype; and was every bit as advertised. As fierce and intimidating a barn as you’ll find in that league.
But still the Ducks hung in. And despite being out played for two periods, they were still up a goal and in great position to shock the Preds in their own house and rip back the home ice. Suddenly, it wasn’t Pekka Rinne who was standing on his head, it was Ducks goalie John Gibson, who not only was keeping them in it, but starting to look like he was going to be the most critical player in this series. He stopped 43 shots in Game 1. 30 more in that Game 2 win. And last night was a wall again… until Filip Forsberg banged home a rebound to tie it up at the 3:54 mark of the third period:
The Preds were the epitome of ‘not in our freaking house.’ Because after having two goals waved off for goalie interference, they got a huge break when Duck Chris Wagner went braindead late taking a really, really bad high sticking penalty.
Never mind that the Preds have been terrible on the power play the entire postseason, was there anyone watching that game who didn’t think the Preds would cash in that favor and take advantage of that gift?! Hell no. And with Wagner going off, Smashville went crazy when Roman Josi scored the game winner.
I’m not going to put that one all on Wagner. You win as a team and lose as a team and the Ducks had other chances they couldn’t cash in. But you can’t make that mistake, against that team, in that building. They’ll make you pay. And they did. And no one knows that better than Wagner. At least he does now. That’s the wrong time to take the wrong penalty… And you just know that joint is going to be even louder for Game 4.