Nick Ritchie scored the eventual winning goal as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3 Sunday to even their Western Conference finals series at 1-1. Antoine Vermette scored an empty-net goal with:44 seconds remaining in the game.
Hayes, who was named player of the game, picked up two assists and Skjei had one.
After some struggles early, John Gibson settled in, stopping 30 of the 33 shots he saw.
Rinne made 22 saves for the Predators, who faced relatively little adversity while steamrolling Chicago and St. Louis in the first two rounds on the way to the first conference finals in franchise history.
Nashville got off to a 2-0 start in Game 2 thanks to Ryan Johansen and James Neal scoring.
Pekka Rinne has been the best and most consistent goaltender in the 2017 National Hockey League postseason. Through the first two games of the series, Gibson has seen Nashville fire off 79 shots on goal, the most he's seen in consecutive games all postseason.
Johansen gave the Predators a 1-0 lead with a breakaway goal at 4:18 of the first period. Forsberg has now scored in all three games of this series. "I think he's playing well today, too".
"That first one was a laser", said Nashville coach Peter Laviolette, not wanting to suggest that his goalie wasn't up to snuff.
Until, that is, Finnish defenceman Sami Vatanen wired a slapper far side on Rinne, breathing life into the Ducks with exactly one minute left in what had been a moribund first period for Anaheim. Ottawa got outstanding goaltending from Craig Anderson who has played two fantastic games in net for them in a row, going back to the close out game against the New York Rangers in the second round.
It's not easy winning games when your power play isn't manufacturing points or even pressure.
Filip Forsberg tied it up at 3:54 of the third as the Predators rallied for the win against an Anaheim team that has notched four comeback victories already when trailing by multiple goals this postseason.
It was somewhat humourous - and just a tad premature - when a reporter asked Anaheim Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle if Sunday night's Game 2 against the Nashville Predators was of the "must-win" variety. Ritchie, who had scored the series-clinching victor against the Oilers, then gave the Ducks their first lead of the series on an eye-level slap shot that Rinne seemed to duck his head on.
Anaheim led 1-0 after 40 minutes but lost for the first time in the postseason when taking a lead into the third period.
Yet, they still gave up the first goal, took the first penalty, surrendered the first power-play goal, took the second penalty, allowed the second goal and, 16 minutes in, had just two shots on goal. Gibson was impenetrable in Russian Federation that year, giving up just two goals total in the medal round while facing shooters such as Mark Scheifele, Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Tomas Hertl and, ironically, future Nashville standouts Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson.
"It's good to get that one". "I closed my eyes, shot it as hard as I could, and it went in". "Go Preds! Hoping they can get to the finals, that would be awesome", he said recently.
"We did a good job", Josi said. If Nashville is going to advance to the Stanley Cup Final they need Arvidsson to deliver in the offensive zone.