Ducks change coverage, salvage win in Game 4

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Corey Perry‘s goal 10 minutes, 25 seconds into overtime gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday, evening the best-of-seven series against the Nashville Predators at two games apiece.

Perry’s second overtime winner in two weeks was originally credited to Nate Thompson. But a review showed that Perry’s centering pass actually went in off the stick of Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.

Nashville forced overtime with two late goals, including Filip Forsberg‘s tying marker with 35 seconds remaining in regulation and Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne on the bench.

How it happened: Nashville trailed 2-0 after Rickard Rakell and Nick Ritchie scored on long shots that eluded Rinne to the short side. But the Predators found new life late when Subban scored 13:33 into the third period. It appeared the comeback attempt would fall short after Nashville failed to register a shot on a late five-on-three advantage lasting 1:31. But Forsberg’s finish off a mad scramble tied the score and completed an uncharacteristic collapse by a Ducks team that entered the game with a 5-1 postseason record when leading after 40 minutes.

Changing assignments: The Ducks’ more efficient offense early in the game was facilitated in part by Ryan Kesler no longer being required to shadow Nashville’s leading playoff scorer, Ryan Johansen. With Nashville enjoying the advantage of last change, the Predators’ top line was matched up primarily against a Ducks first line centered by captain Ryan Getzlaf. Getting a break from harassing Johansen, Kesler was able to take on a more offensive role, leading all players with five shots through two periods. During that span, Johansen’s entire line, which included Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, combined for only four shots.

Of course, Forsberg and Arvidsson, who assisted on both Nashville goals, pushed through toward the end.

What’s next: With the series now deadlocked, these teams will return to Honda Center in Anaheim for Game 5 on Saturday. The winner that night will be one win shy of advancing to the Stanley Cup finals.

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