Ryan Dadoun

Hockey Daily Dose

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Neal, Preds Take Game 1 in OT

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Before we get to the first game of the Eastern Conference Final, it's worth noting that there were a handful of signings on Friday with the most notable being the six-year, $29.5 million contract Ben Bishop got from the Dallas Stars.

 

That's a significant risk for Dallas.  Bishop has had some superb campaigns and even finished second in Vezina Trophy voting in 2016, but he's coming off a down season where he posted a 2.54 GAA and .910 save percentage in 39 contests.  In other words, Dallas made this deal under the hope that he'll bounce back.  The Stars also need to hope that he proves to have longevity given that he's getting a long-term deal despite the fact that he'll turn 31 in November.

 

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Still, the Stars needed to shake things up in goal.  Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi have been an expensive disaster and if they wanted any chance of actually being able to play hockey at this time of year instead of getting a head start on their summer business then they needed to make a big move between the pipes.  Whether or not betting on Bishop was the right move to make is something that we'll have to wait and see, but at least there's been a real attempt made to address the situation.

 

Speaking of Niemi and Lehtonen though, Dallas now has roughly $15.3 million of cap space committed to goaltenders for the 2017-18 campaign.  That likely won't last though as Dallas will presumably try to trade or failing that simply buy out one of Niemi or Lehtonen.  Vegas is the X-factor in that.  It's unlikely that the Golden Knights will do Dallas the favor of selecting Niemi or Lehtonen in the expansion draft, but they might be willing to take on either contract if Dallas bundles it with a pick or prospect.  That being said, Dallas likely isn't the only team that will be looking to Vegas in the hopes that the expansion club will agree to take on a bad contract.

 

While we wait for the next chapter in that saga though, let's take a look at last night's action.

 

PREDATORS 3 DUCKS 2 (Overtime)

Nashville leads series 1-0

 

The Predators have now won the opening game in each of its first three playoff series, but this is also a familiar position for Anaheim.  The Ducks fell behind 2-0 in their second round series against Edmonton and managed to bounce back, so there's no need to overreact to this setback if you're Anaheim, although certainly losing at home in the playoffs is always going to be particularly tough.

 

James Neal scored the overtime goal.  He got off to a slow start in the 2017 playoffs, but has heated up with four goals in his last six games.  This was also his second game-winning goal over that span.

 

P.K. Subban assisted on Neal's marker and logged 28:03 minutes of ice time.  He's up to eight points in 11 playoff games.

 

Austin Watson scored his first career playoff goal in the second period.  The Predators forward is participating in his first postseason run and has three points in 11 games.

 

Filip Forsberg accounted for Nashville's other goal.  That gives him four goals and nine points in 11 contests in the 2017 playoffs.

 

Ryan Johansen and Mattias Ekholm each assisted on two of the Predators' three goals.  For Johansen this was his second straight multi-point game.

 

On the Ducks' side of things, Hampus Lindholm found the back of the net at 7:21 of the third period to tie the game at 2-2 and force the overtime period.  It was his first goal and fourth point in 12 playoff games this year.

 

Jakob Silfverberg also found the back of the net for Anaheim.  He's been on fire in the 2017 playoffs with eight goals and 12 points in 12 contests.

 

John Gibson had a busy night, turning aside 43 of 46 shots.  This is the fifth time in the span of six games that Gibson has allowed at least three goals.  He has a 2.78 GAA and .911 save percentage in 12 playoff games.

 

Pekka Rinne saved 27 of 29 shots in his first career Western Conference Final game.  For the 2017 playoffs he has a 1.41 GAA and .950 save percentage in 11 starts.



Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.
Email :Ryan Dadoun


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