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Predators advance, Ducks and Boudreau fail again in Game 7

The Nashville Predators completed their rally. The Anaheim Ducks completed yet another disappointing season under Bruce Boudreau. And at the completion of Game 7, it was the Predators advancing with an intense 2-1 victory led by a 36-save effort from Pekka Rinne.

The Predators advance to face the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, advancing past the first round for the first time since 2012 and winning the first Game 7 in their franchise’s history. 

It was the second time in four seasons that the Ducks were eliminated in the first round under coach Bruce Boudreau after finishing first in the division.

One wonders if it will be the last time Boudreau coaches the Ducks, as for the fifth straight playoff season one of his teams failed to win a Game 7. Boudreau is now 1-7 in Game 7s; Peter Laviolette is now 5-1.

This is what the Ducks do, unfortunately. In 2013, in a Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings, they gave up two goals in the first 16:37. In 2014, it was two goals in the first 8:48 against the Los Angeles Kings. In 2015, it was two goals in the first 11:55 against the Chicago Blackhawks; then, in Game 7 against the Predators, it was two goals in the first 15:53.

In all cases, the Ducks were eliminated.

Colin Wilson got the Preds on the board first, converting a turnover by Simon Despres in the slot of the Ducks’ defensive zone for the 1-0 lead.

The second goal was a controversial one. Paul Gaustad tipped the puck home with a stick that was perilously close to being too high. Wilson helped set up the play with solid forechecking; Shea Weber’s shot was deflected home.

Ryan Kelser got one back, finally, 1:45 into the third period with the Ducks on the power play, converting a nice passing play from Jacob Silfverberg.

The Ducks came incredibly close to tying the game with a puck rang off the post with Corey Perry inside the crease. His stick missed the puck and it bounced out of harm’s way.

A flurry late in the third period – after a bad penalty by Ryan Getzlaf at 14:38, and about a minute of keep-away by the Predators – couldn’t get the equalizer.

"What a job by us," said Rinne on NBC. "I'm just so proud right now."

The buzzer sounded. The Ducks lost a Game 7. Again.

For the Predators, it ended a roller coaster of a series: Winning two games in Anaheim, losing three straight, surviving in Game 6 and then winning Game 7 on the road. They open against the Sharks on Friday night. 

Now, the questions begin for the Ducks. Will Boudreau be fired? Will Sami Vatanen be traded due to salary cap concerns? How will GM Bob Murray slice and dice into this team to improve it?

And if anyone sees Corey Perry’s offense, can you tell it that the playoffs are already over?

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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