4 - 3 Final - OT
  for this game

Clawing ahead: Preds top Ducks in OT, take series lead

Apr 23, 2011 - 5:55 AM
Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) - Shea Weber tied the game with 35.3 seconds left in regulation and Jerred Smithson won it 1:57 into overtime to give the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

In the final minute of regulation with Pekka Rinne on the bench, a left-circle faceoff in the Anaheim end was won by Mike Fisher. The puck went back to the right side for Cody Franson, who sent it over to the left, where Weber's successful one-timer forced a fourth period.

In the extra session, Nick Spaling kept the puck in at the left point and sent it down low for Jordin Tootoo, who threw it to the front where a streaking Smithson one-timed it home.

"We came in here believing," said Smithson. "We battled hard all game. We fell behind a few times but we stuck with it. Once you get into overtime, it's going to take those second and third efforts. Great play by Tootoo and my linemates. I just had to get it off as quick as I could and it found the back of the net."

Kevin Klein and Joel Ward also had goals for the Predators, who lead the best- of-seven series 3-2 and can claim the first-ever series victory for the franchise on Sunday at home in Game 6.

Rinne, who was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy earlier on Friday, stopped 23 shots in the win.

"We've taken two wins out of this building and I think that's well done," said Rinne. "Now it's time to finish up at home. We just have to keep improving our game, and I think we've been doing that, for the most part. This is a good game for us, bouncing back from the last game in which we didn't play well."

Jason Blake scored twice while Bobby Ryan, who missed the past two games due to a suspension, notched the other goal for the Ducks, who got two assists from Saku Koivu. Ray Emery made 33 saves in the setback.

"We have our back up against the wall and a lot of times that brings out the best in guys," said Emery. "We are going into their building and know they come hard there. We have to be at our best and give it everything. We have one shot at it and have to take it."

Nashville got the first goal of the game on a rush as Tootoo sent a pass from the left side to the front where Klein redirected it in at the 8:32 mark of the first.

Anaheim tied the game with 6:21 left in the second on the power play as Blake jammed it in during a scrum in front after Koivu redirected the puck on net.

A beautiful effort from Ryan just 40 seconds into the third gave Nashville a 2-1 lead. He got the puck off a turnover in the neutral zone and went back and forth past David Legwand twice, then lifted a backhander into the net for his third goal of the series.

The Predators tied the game at the 11:20 mark when Ward buried a puck that took a big bounce off the back boards and came out to the right side of the slot.

With 5:44 left in the third, Anaheim went ahead again as Teemu Selanne, who was knocked to the ice, sent a no-look backhand from the right boards to the front where it hit off of Rinne with Blake one-timing the rebound home.

Game Notes

Ryan was suspended for stomping on the skate of Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum in Anaheim's Game 2 victory...Smithson's goal was just his second in 25 playoff games...The Predators have been knocked out in the first round the previous five times they've been in the playoffs...Nashville was 0-for-2 on the power play while Anaheim went 1-for-2.