The 21-year-old power forward wasn't around for any of the Anaheim Ducks' agonizing Game 7 defeats over the past four seasons.
In Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, however, the home team sprang brilliantly to life, soon enough this time to put together a 5-3 win and tie the series at a game apiece. Like, his family and his friends watching him play, I don't know how you cheer for a guy like that.
The Leafs were fortunate to have a strong offensive game led by Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner.
Pearn said another factor that stuck out for him was back pressure by forwards on each team, a key reason why each has reached the Western Conference Final.
"This time of year you can't have excuses", Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm told the Orange County Register. The Predators are the third team in the past 10 years to win nine consecutive playoff games on home ice, joining Pittsburgh (9-0 in 2008) and Los Angeles (9-0 in 2012-13).
"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.
It's likely this season will be looked upon one day as the point when the Oilers jumped from league laughingstock and annual No. 1 overall pick-maker to legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
Just one can make a different in a tight game. "I think that we're just going to have to continue to do those little things that have brought us success", said PK Subban. "We'll turn the page on this one and get ourselves prepared for Sunday afternoon".
The Predators, who stole Game 1 for the third time in three playoff series against the Ducks, said they expect Sunday to be more representative of a close series.
"We knew they were going to come hard", Gibson said.
The Ducks admitted they were lifeless in an unengaged start to an eventual 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1. He then had two goals and two assists in seven playoff games before getting hurt. The first goal of the playoffs for Lindholm came at the ideal time, getting the crowd back into a game that nearly got out of hand when the Predators were handed a 5-on-3 power play for over 90 seconds in the third frame.
After finishing off St. Louis in the second round last weekend and resting while the Ducks labored through seven games against Edmonton, Nashville capitalized on its fresh legs to win a predictably physical game between two hard-hitting powers.
Anaheim Ducks center Andrew Cogliano, left, celebrates after scoring past Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot during the second period in Game 7 of a second-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesd.
"We've stated that you can win hockey games consistently with your power play not producing, but you cannot consistently win hockey games if your penalty kill is going to be porous", Carlyle said. They've combined for the best two records in this postseason, losing only five combined games. The Predators hadn't allowed four goals in any game during their excellent Stanley Cup playoff run before Anaheim finally got rolling for its sellout crowd.
As defenseman Shea Theodore sent the puck toward the Predators' goal, no less than five players - including Kase, Getzlaf and Ritchie - congested the front of the net.
The Senators improved 6-1 in overtime during the playoffs.
They discovered that being the team to score first in these games really wasn't worth much. It was he and Ryan Kesler who had blocked shots to pair with two critical save by goalie John Gibson. Ellis is the current player in that rotation as he leads the team in scoring whilst manning the blue line.
The Oilers took Game 1 over the Ducks with Leon Draisaitl the hero, but the match-up war between the two benches was just as good a plot line.
Coach Randy Carlyle noted that the Ducks got off to a sluggish start - they were outshot 15-6 in the first period - and that can not happen again. "We have a lot of (defensemen) that can jump up in the play".
"I wouldn't say it's a relief, but the fact we don't have to talk about it anymore, that's a good thing", captain Ryan Getzlaf said. Anaheim did not dress D Kevin Bieksa, D Korbinian Holzer, RW Patrick Eaves and C Logan Shaw.