By Amanda DiPaolo
By now, everyone knows what happened. With under 4 minutes left in regulation, Nashville down by a goal after mounting what was shaping up to be an epic third period comeback, Bobby Ryan stomped on Jon Blum’s foot behind the Predators net. No call was made on the play and Ryan would score the empty net goal to seal the deal for the Ducks.
Saturday afternoon, Ryan was suspended for two games.
The suspension is significant for a multitude of reasons.
Anaheim loses a key component of its power-line for two games on the road. The loss would be more manageable at home with the Ducks controlling matchups, but they won’t have that ability for Games 3 and 4.
Furthermore, in Game 1, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle decided to split up Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan to generate more balanced scoring threats. Ryan was taken off the top line for large parts of the game. Getzlaf and Ryan each had one shot on goal. Perry had five shots, but was still a -3 on the night. Clearly, the three work best when together as their collective output in Game 2 would suggest. Ryan’s absence takes away from Getzlaf and Perry.
The suspension also shows the NHL will hold you accountable for your actions, even if you are among the League’s elite. Maybe it also sends a message that the tone of the Predators-Ducks series has gotten out of hand and that the players, on both sides, need to think about that moving forward.
Ryan’s suspension will no doubt fire up the Ducks to prove they can win despite the setback. Nashville can not ease up knowing the American Olympian will be out of the lineup. With the momentum from the third period of Game 2 carrying over to a full house at Bridgestone Arena making the building a tough place for the Ducks to play in, watch for Nashville to make the most of the suspension.
Game time is 5 pm CT Sunday afternoon.
Photo Credit: AP
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