Ducks down and out after Predators win series decider

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 28, 2016 1:14 AM

(The Sports Xchange) - Colin Wilson and Paul Gaustad scored in the first period as the Nashville Predators eliminated the Anaheim Ducks from the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-1 Game Seven victory in their Western Conference quarter-final series on Wednesday.

Goaltender Pekka Rinne stopped 36 shots for the Predators, who will face the San Jose Sharks on Friday in the first game of the conference semi-finals.

Ryan Kesler scored the only goal for the Ducks, who received 18 saves from goalie Frederik Andersen.

Rinne prevented the hosts from taking the lead about four minutes after the opening face-off, when he did the splits while making a lunging catch of Cam Fowler's slap shot from the blue line.

Wilson put Nashville ahead 6:19 into the game with his second goal of the playoffs. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm sent a pass from the left boards in the Predators' zone to Wilson at the Ducks' blue line.

Wilson tried to feed a pass between Anaheim defensemen Simon Despres and Clayton Stoner to Mike Fisher. Despres blocked the high pass with his glove and deflected the puck to the ice. But before Despres could play the puck, Wilson stole it and propelled a backhand inside the right post.

That goal tied Wilson with Martin Erat for fourth place on the Predators' all-time playoff goal-scoring list with eight.

Gaustad's second career playoff goal and first in the series extended the lead to 2-0 at 15:53.

With his stick at shoulder level, Gaustad deflected Shea Weber's slap shot from the right point under the crossbar. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau challenged the call, which video replay upheld.

Nashville needed the crossbar to keep the Ducks scoreless early in the second period.

After Rinne blocked Rickard Rakell's tip-in, Jamie McGinn tried to convert the rebound with Rinne prone on the ice but his shot hit the crossbar about five minutes into the period.

Kesler ended Rinne's quest for a shutout on a power play 1:45 into the third period. The center one-timed a shot in front of the crease off Jakob Silfverberg's pass from behind the net for his fourth goal.

Anaheim came close to scoring the tying goal with about seven minutes to play when Hampus Lindholm fired a shot from the blue line that deflected off the back of Rinne's glove and slowly trickled off the left post before Rinne covered it with his glove.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)