Western Conference quarterfinals
Ducks 6, Nashville Predators 3 (Ducks even best-of-seven series, 2-2)
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: The Ducks exploded for three unanswered goals in the third period Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, breaking open a game that was tied after the second intermission and earning back home-ice advantage.
THE STAT: After they were limited to 16 shots on goal in a 4-3 loss Sunday in Game 3, the Ducks came out firing and put up 38 shots on net in Game 4, chasing Nashville’s stellar goalie Pekka Rinne early in the third period. The six goals by the Ducks were their most since a title-clinching 6-2 victory against Ottawa in Game 5 of the 2007 Stanley Cup finals.
TURNING POINT: With the score tied, 3-3, at the start of the third period, the Ducks were attempting to kill the final 1:28 of a power play that carried over from the second period. Ducks rookie forward Brandon McMillan took possession of the puck in neutral ice, made a drop pass to Corey Perry in the offensive zone and then headed for the net, taking one of two Nashville defensemen with him. Perry skated around the other defender and flicked a backhand at the net, beating Rinne for a short-handed goal and a 4-3 lead.
HOT: The ageless Teemu Selanne scored again for the Ducks, giving him five goals in this series to match his postseason career high. The 40-year-old forward gave Anaheim a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal in the second period, his fourth power-play goal of the playoffs. With 15 goals in his last 15 games, his hot streak has obviously carried over from the regular season.
NOT: Rinne finished the regular season ranked second in the league in save percentage (.930) and third in goals-against average (2.12) but matched his career high with six goals against in Game 4. Rinne has allowed 14 goals in four playoff games against the Ducks for a paltry save percentage of .860 and a swollen goals-against average of 3.50.
GOOD MOVE: Ducks rookie defenseman Cam Fowler set the tone with a power-play goal just 4:41 into the game. In addition to the goal, he also had three takeaways in the opening nine minutes of the first period, helping the Ducks out-shoot the Predators, 12-2, in that span. Fowler later assisted on Selanne’s goal.
BAD MOVE: Ducks veteran forward Jarkko Ruutu got back into the lineup after sitting out the last two games as a healthy scratch and he might be sitting again after knocking Nashville left wing Martin Erat from the game with a hit that left Erat sprawled on the ice. It has been a tough series for Erat, who lost four teeth in Game 2 when he was accidentally struck with the butt end of Sheldon Brookbank's stick. Good thing the Ducks have a replacement for Ruutu in Bobby Ryan, the team’s second-leading goal scorer in the regular season who was suspended for Games 3 and 4 after stomping on the skate of Nashville defenseman Jonathon Blum late in Game 2.
NOTABLE: The team that has scored first has also scored second and won every game in the series.
UP NEXT: Game 5, Friday at Honda Center, 7 p.m. PT.