National Hockey League playoffs 2017: Ducks vs. Predators preview and prediction

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Anaheim had a somewhat more hard path to the conference final, having swept the Calgary Flames in the first round before needing seven games to dispose of the Edmonton Oilers.

In this May 7, 2017, photo, Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) celebrates after scoring the winning goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period in Game 6 of a second-round NHL hockey playoff series in Nashville, Tenn.

This lead held all the way until the 7:21 mark of the third period, as Hampus Lindholm scored off of a face-off victory to tie the game for the Ducks.

And the stakes are stratospheric Wednesday in Anaheim, where the victor advances to the NHL's Western Conference final against the Nashville Predators.

John Gibson, Ducks - Gibson was pulled after three goals on six shots in game six but responded with a 23-save performance in the second game seven of his career. The Ducks took the first two games at home and then rallied from a three-goal deficit in Game Three to win 4-3 in overtime in Calgary. It was the first time in league history a team came back from three or more goals down with less than four minutes remaining to force overtime or win the game.

"It is going to be physical all over ice", said Neal, who drove Anaheim defenseman Brandon Montour's head into the side boards just moments before scoring the game victor. "Got to find a way to get over it". In two previous playoff meetings, the Predators twice eliminated the Ducks, most recently in a seven-game series last season. Not only did they have one of the most risky playoff forwards in Leon Draisaitl, who lit up the Ducks for the duration of the series, but they put up a tough fight.

Though Anaheim struck first, the first period belonged to Nashville.

Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif. In that last Game 7, they lost 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes in the deciding game of the 2006 Stanley Cup final.

Win this game and the Oilers head to the Western Conference finals. Talbot got turned around as Ryan Kesler was attacking the crease before ending up face down on the ice and in no position to stop Cogliano's soft backhand swat of a loose puck.

"He gives us that confidence", Josi said. "We were down 1-0 for a little bit, and we didn't panic". "They were able to manufacture the timely goal that we couldn't manufacture this year".

With one fan clutching his arm and the other holding his hand, this may be one of the oddest airport photos we have seen in some time. The Oilers only seemed to recover in the closing minute, creating two chances before returning to the dressing room. He's playing through a couple of hairline fractures in his foot and still has 13 points in Ottawa's 12 playoff games.

They made great strides this season, but losing still hurt. The way your teammates come after you, how excited the crowd is, just everything about it, it's a lot of fun.

The time is now for the five-time Pacific Division champion Ducks, 10 years since their 2007 championship. How much of a role could the Ducks' revenge factor play with a Stanley Cup final appearance at stake? "I'm proud as hell to be a part of this group right now and I'm looking forward to the future with this team". Though it stings now, the Oilers will certainly be back next year, and they will have more experience and lessons from this series. It will simply be a question of how quickly Edmonton learns the lessons of this series. "But I think there are a lot of positives we can take from this year".

Nashville knocked off the top team in the West in the First Round when they swept the Chicago Blackhawks. "We've got 20 guys in here that we can play and can contribute".

For the Edmonton Oilers, stars have been born in 2015 No. 1 draft pick Connor McDavid and burgeoning forward Leon Draisaitl, who some are already dubbing the "German Gretzky".