Matt Duchene's goal lifts Nashville Predators past Hurricanes in 2OT thriller in Game 3
The Nashville Predators didn't wait long to give — 12,135 people — the biggest crowd in the NHL playoffs this season something to cheer about Friday night at Bridgestone Arena.
Ryan Ellis scored 4 minutes, 35 seconds into the first period in Game 3 of his team's first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The crowd waited much longer for a conclusion in what was one of the longest games in Predators postseason history at 94 minutes, 54 seconds. The Predators held on for a 5-4 victory, thanks to Matt Duchene's goal in double overtime in front fans that included former Titans running back Eddie George and Grammy Award winner Keith Urban, who sang the national anthem.
Their longest played 111:12 in 2015 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Predators goalie Juuse Saros made a career-high 52 saves, tying the franchise record for a playoff game set by Dan Ellis in 2008.
GAME WINNING GOAL:Watch Matt Duchene's game-wining goal in the second overtime of Game 3
NATIONAL ANTHEM SINGER:Keith Urban sings national anthem before Nashville Predators' Game 3 against the Hurricanes
The Hurricanes lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.
Ryan Johansen tipped in Ellis' shot with 14:59 left in the third to give the Predators a 4-3 lead. But Brett Pesce tied it with 3:21 remaining in regulation.
Sebastian Aho erased the home team’s early lead with 4:16 left in the first, his third goal of the series, when he banked the puck off Roman Josi and Juuse Saros and into the net.
Filip Forsberg had the fans buzzing again, though, when he beat Alex Nedeljkovic one-on-one 25 seconds before the first-period buzzer. Saros was credited with the secondary assist.
Jordan Staal stalled the Predators momentum when he tied it 2-2 with 16:29 left in the second.
Consecutive penalties by Mattias Ekholm finally caught up with the Predators in the second, when the Hurricanes made it 3-2 thanks to Vincent Trocheck with 7:14 remaining in the second.
Ekholm had just come out of the penalty box when he was called for roughing.
After watching his team go 0-for-10 on the power play in the first two games, Predators coach John Hynes made wholesale changes to his units, notably removing two of $8 million-a-year players in Duchene and Johansen from the units.
It finally paid off when Mikael Granlund tied the score 3-3 in the second while the Predators had a 5-on-3 advantage, given them their first power-play goal in 14 tries in the series.
Ellis blocked two shots, including one while Carolina was on a power play with just over five minutes left in the third. He eventually cleared the puck to help preserve the lead.
Game 4 is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.
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