James Neal wins Game 1 in OT for Nashville Predators

In the second period, Ryan Johansen found Austin Watson with a cross-ice pass that the Predators winger one-timed past a helpless Gibson.

Nashville looked even more dominant in the second period, in which the Ducks were presented with two power plays and got nothing on either, and precious little possession on the second.

The Ducks got just one shot on goal in the first 13 minutes of Game 1, but Silfverberg put it into Rinne's far top corner for his eighth goal in 12 games this spring, matching his goal total in 48 games over his previous six trips to the postseason. I thought (Ducks goalie John) Gibson played a strong game tonight, but guys stuck with it.

Rinne's Nashville Predators prevailed 3-2 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Friday despite 43 saves by his counterpart, Anaheim Ducks netminder John Gibson. Nashville's 3-2 overtime win was the team's third Game 1 win on the road this postseason.

- This one can not be laid at the feet of John Gibson, who stopped 43 of 46 Nashville shots and all 11 on power plays.

The Ducks were back on the Honda Center ice two days after their Game 7 victory over Edmonton to reach the conference finals for the second time in three years.

The Ducks' veterans are familiar with Rinne through the years, but coach Randy Carlyle again emphasized to his players Rinne's puck-handling ability in the short preparation for the Predators.

The Predators also arrived at the Western Conference Finals with a 5-2 playoff record in Honda Center. Mattias Ekholm had a lot to do overall in the hard-earned victory.

Jakob Silfverberg scored an unassisted goal on the Anaheim Ducks' first shot of the series at 5:15 of the first, snapping a wrist shot past Rinne for the 1-0 lead. "I think both teams wish they could have done more on their power play", said the Predators' Filip Forsberg, "but the penalty kill didn't give them much".

He also did everything he could to will the Ducks into this game, at one point controlling the play in the Nashville zone for 10 full seconds, notching two shots of his team-high five shots.

Neal said they knew going in that this would be a physical series so they tried to match Anaheim's toughness on Friday with their own.

"Obviously, it's a new year, new teams, (but) for some of us, it means a little bit more", Anaheim center Ryan Kesler said. In doing so, the Ducks had shown they could handle a speed game.

Pekka Rinne - Nashville's goaltender entered the game with a league-leading.951 save percentage in the playoffs and stopped 27 of 29 shots in the Game One win, dropping his playoff save percentage to.950. They whitewashed the Chicago Blackhawks in the First Round, winning four straight games. They're 0 for 21 with the man advantage since late in Game 2 against Edmonton on April 28.

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