What a night in Smashville. Preds fan ready to rip the roof off the place. Kelly Clarkson singing the anthem. AND LET ME STOP RIGHT THERE. I DON’T NEED YOUR TAKES ON BELLY CLARK BAR…OR JELLY CLARK-WEIGHS-A-TON ETC.
The Kings of Leon chugging Coors Lights. Preds fans throwing DEAD DUCKS on the ice. And then Anaheim getting a win that they ABSOLUTELY NEEDED TO HAVE, tying the series at 2 games apiece.
But the Ducks didn’t just win it. The won it. Choked it away. And then ripped it back — with an overtime game-winner from Corey Perry that deflected off star defenseman P.K. Subban’s stick.
Incredible theater. And just an incredible implosion for the Ducks, who did everything they could to win the game in the first 50 minutes and then everything they could to lose it in the last 10 minutes of regulation.
After the Preds skated circles around the Ducks in Game 3, Anaheim controlled the pace of play from puck drop — outshooting Nashville 14-2 in the first period and silencing the crowd with a goal by Rickard Rakell and extending their lead after two with an absolute SNIPE from winger Nick Ritchie in the second.
But after being bottled up for the game’s first 53 minutes — the Preds finally broke loose. And if Nashville wasn’t already dangerous enough — Duck after Duck after Duck after Duck took dumb penalty after dumb penalty after dumb penalty after dumb penalty — 4 trips to the sin bin in the THIRD PERIOD — including a late-game 5-on-3 advantage that Anaheim managed to kill, but they STILL couldn’t survive Filip Forsberg’s game-tyer with the net empty and just 35 seconds to go.
If you’re a Ducks fan, Forsberg is your worst nightmare right now. And example of why the Preds are so dangerous. Sure, they’re fast as hell. And extremely skilled. But they’re also tough. And they can grind. And they play so hard. And Forsberg is the best example of that. And every time he’s on the ice you expect something good to happen for the Preds and something bad for the Ducks.
And when Anaheim imploded, and that game went to O.T.; the Ducks looked dead in the water. Because they weren’t coming back from that meltdown. Not last night and not in the series. No way, they win three in a row, against that team, and that goalie. And then just as they shook that horrible game 7 curse, it was all going to come back. And letting that game and that series get away was going to stick to these guys forever.
It was that bad. Book the tee times, bad. Cancel Game 5 bad. Because that’s a hollow-point to the forehead. That’s a self-inflicted kill shot. Completely losing their composure, choking away a third period lead, and doing it after brilliantly killing off that 5 on 3 late.
Or so we all thought! And that’s what makes these guys unbelievable. Not dead, can’t quit. NOT DEAD, CAN’T QUIT!!
And while they do commit some really dumb penalties and that has to stop, these dudes are all heart. And veteran poise and leadership do matter.
The Preds are still scary. They’re still dangerous. But the fact is, they’re mortal. They’re not unbeatable at home. And come to find out, the Ducks’ brawn and experience may in fact trump the Preds’ unbelievable skill. And speed. Because it did last night.