Predators oust Ducks, win first playoff series

Nashville Predators' Joel Ward celebrates his third period goal against the Anaheim Ducks with his...

Nashville Predators' Joel Ward celebrates his third period goal against the Anaheim Ducks with his teammates. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

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, Last Updated: 9:19 PM ET

Nashville, TN - Nick Spaling scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, as the Nashville Predators won their first playoff series in franchise history with a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of this Western Conference quarterfinal.

Spaling also lit the lamp in the first period for the Predators, who won in overtime in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead. Steve Sullivan and David Legwand also scored.

Pekka Rinne made 25 saves for Nashville, which entered the NHL as an expansion club in 1998.

The Predators also won the sixth game of a series for the first time, while the Ducks fell to 7-2 all-time in Game 6s.

Teemu Selanne and Jason Blake found the back of the net for the Ducks, who got 26 saves from Ray Emery.

With the score tied at 2-2, Nashville had a goal waved off 1:53 into the third. A shot from the left point was deflected in by Patric Hornqvist, but his stick was above the crossbar. The refs confirmed it was no goal after a review.

The Bridgestone Arena crowd got to cheer for real at the 4:53 mark. Jordin Tootoo charged down the left side of the ice and made his way in front of Emery, who poked the puck away. Spaling was right there to put the puck into the back of the net.

The Ducks went on the power play at the 7:48 mark, but Rinne kept it a 3-2 game.

Anaheim pulled Emery with about 1 1/2 minutes to play for the extra attacker. The Ducks, though, were called for a penalty in the final 38 seconds.

Legwand scored on the empty net to send the fourth-seeded Ducks packing.

Selanne kept his stellar play in the postseason going with a goal at the 10:22 mark of the first period. The 40-year-old winger carried the puck around the net and beat Rinne with a backhander for his sixth goal of the series.

The Ducks seemed to be in prime position to win, considering the team who scored the first goal won each of the previous five games.

The Predators made it a 1-1 game with 27.9 seconds to go in the opening frame. Anaheim turned the puck over behind its own net and Tootoo found the loose disc. He made a nice pass to the slot for Spaling, whose wrister beat Emery.

Sullivan put Nashville ahead at the 3:29 mark of the middle stanza. J.P. Dumont led a charge into the Anaheim zone and passed to his right. Sullivan gathered the puck, made a nice move in front, and slid a backhander past Emery.

The Ducks converted on their first power play of the game to make it a 2-2 contest. Bobby Ryan fired a shot on net from the top of the left circle that Blake deflected past Rinne.

Game Notes

The Ducks got forward Jarkko Ruutu back after he served a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Nashville's Martin Erat...Erat missed his second straight game with an upper body injury suffered on the hit.


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