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Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators Game 5: Post-Game Analysis and Predictions

ANAHEIM - APRIL 22: Jonathon Blum #7 of the Nashville Predators and Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks battle for the puck in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 22, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Kyle NicolasContributor IApril 23, 2011

It was absolutely everything it was hyped to be. I would even go so far as to say it was the best game thus far of these playoffs.

However, it also taught that a game is not over until the final horn as the Nashville Predators absolutely stunned the Anaheim Ducks with a 4-3 overtime win in Anaheim.

Once again the third period was the big story as the teams traded two goals each during the final frame, however none was bigger than Shea Weber's slap shot off the faceoff following an Anaheim icing call.

That goal came with just 36 seconds left on the clock and tied the score at 3-3 and sent the game to the first overtime period of the series.

This game five broke several trends that had emerged in the series. For one, the Predators scored the first goal of the game 8:32 in when Kevin Klein scored his first goal on the series by jamming in a brilliant centering pass.

However, Nashville didn't score the second goal of the game as well, the first time that's happened in this series.

Jason Blake fought his way to the front of the net and jammed a puck under Pekka Rinne at the 13:39 mark of the second period. It was by no means a pretty goal, but it was a huge one for the Ducks that gave the series its first 1-1 tie.

Blake had an excellent game for Anaheim, scoring a pair of huge goals for the Ducks.

His second goal came 14:16 into the third period when he jumped on a wide open rebound in front of Pekka Rinne and buried it just inside the right post. That goal would give Anaheim a 3-2 lead.

However, the Ducks would create the first lead change of the series with what was unquestionably the goal of the playoffs so far by Bobby Ryan.

Ryan created a turnover at his own blueline, charged up the middle of the ice, and proceeded to dangle the puck through David Legwand twice, forcing the Nashville defenseman to drop his stick, and then buried the puck behind Pekka Rinne on the backhand.

The crowd of 17,385 was electrified by that goal.

But as loud as they got, the Predators silenced them by a combination of the goal by Shea Weber, and then the final dagger by Jerred Smithson just 1:57 into the first overtime period of the series.

Nashville also got a goal from Joel Ward that tied the game at 2-2.

Two goals separated by just 2:33 of game play sent the Ducks from a huge victory to a crushing defeat.

The Predators are now going home to Nashville with a chance to close out their first ever playoff series victory on their own ice.

The Ducks have only won once on Nashville ice this entire season. And with the chance to eliminate Anaheim and pull off their first ever series win, you can bet they're going to come out flying.

However, if there's one thing Anaheim has shown, it's that they are spectacular when desperate. Over the course of the season, Anaheim strung together a series of last-gasp wins to pull off two points when they really needed to. If there's one team that knows how to play desperate, it's these Ducks.

Game 6 is Sunday at 6 P.M. Eastern time.

Click here to read my live blog of Game 5.

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