Rapid Reaction: Nashville Predators 3, Anaheim Ducks 2

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Nashville Predators announced themselves as serious threats with a 3-2 victory over the Pacific Division champion Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 before a sellout crowd of 17,236 at Honda Center.

Game 2 will be played Sunday night here at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET.

How it happened: The Predators had been pressing for several minutes in the third period before Filip Forsberg's passing attempt banked off Ducks defenseman Shea Theodore and past goalie John Gibson with 10 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the third period for a 3-2 lead and it stood up as the winner.

The Preds were full value for their win over the favored Ducks, a team many have picked to win the Stanley Cup, showing great resilience after Anaheim went up 2-1 48 seconds into the second period and frankly enjoying the better of play for the rest of the way.

Colin Wilson's beauty of a one-hand redirect tied the game at 7:55 of the middle period, setting the stage for Forsberg’s winner.

Ryan Kesler and James Neal each scored for their respective teams Friday night and that matchup of lines between Kesler’s unit with Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg versus Ryan Johansen’s trio between Neal and Calle Jarnkrok is going to be one of the major storylines of the series. Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau got Kesler out there as much as he could, inserting him in the last line change against Johansen throughout Game 1. Preds head coach Peter Laviolette clearly didn’t mind the matchup, and why should he? His top line competed well against Anaheim’s shutdown line, with Neal in particular having an impactful game.

The Ducks lost defenseman Josh Manson after he got crunched hard by a hit from Forsberg right at the first-period buzzer. There was head contact on the play but no penalty. While the league reviews everything, I don’t think anything will happen here. Manson was bent over low after taking a shot and it was a full-body hit by Forsberg where head contact is unavailable.

Still, it's a potential big loss for the Ducks early in this series. Manson has had a terrific season on the Anaheim blue line.

What it means: This puts the pressure on the Ducks right away in these playoffs, a team favored by many to have a deep playoff run and a club that had the best record in the NHL since the Christmas break. They finished No. 1 in both the power-play and penalty-kill rankings. as well as won the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals against.

But the Predators are no slouches either, putting together a strong second half of the season of their own entering the playoffs and very much comfortable in their underdog status.

Nashville’s vaunted blue-line corps, led by Shea Weber and Roman Josi, did a strong job Friday night of limiting time and space for Anaheim’s dangerous attackers, which will be a continued theme in this series.

It’s just one game but the Ducks found out what they likely already knew, the Preds are going to be a tough out.