NHL

Neal's OT goal puts Preds past Ducks 3-2 to open West final

James Neal scored 9:24 into overtime, and the Nashville Predators kicked off their first appearance in the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

Pekka Rinne made 27 saves for the Predators, who continued their dominant surge through these Stanley Cup playoffs with a strong start and a gritty overtime effort after Hampus Lindholm's first playoff goal in two years tied it for the Ducks.

Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson scored in regulation for Nashville, which improved to 9-2 in the postseason.

Jakob Silfverberg scored on the Ducks' first shot, and John Gibson stopped 43 shots. Just two days after finishing off Edmonton in the second round, Anaheim struggled to keep up at times with the more-rested Predators.

Game 2 is Sunday night.