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Predators and Ducks: The Battle of the Ryans

If you’ve been watching the Nashville Predators and the Anaheim Ducks play in the Western Conference Finals, you’ve seen a lot of action. One of the exciting on-ice matchups during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs has been the back and forth between Preds forward Ryan Johansen and Ducks forward Ryan Kesler. The two have hacked, slashed and whacked each other up and down the ice. Let’s just say, there’s going to be some hurt feelings when this series is over.

Now, the battle has boiled over into the print media. It’s getting more heated and interesting.

Johansen vented his frustration at Kesler’s veteran play Sunday night after Anaheim rallied in Game 2 and won 5-3 to even the Western Conference finals at 1-1. Johansen said he didn’t know how Kesler plays like that — repeatedly poking him in the groin with his stick — with family and friends watching. (Teresa M. Walker, AP Sports)

Kesler answered with this zinger.

“I laughed,” Kesler told the media on Tuesday. “Got a lot of text messages from my friends and family saying they still cheer me on. He can say whatever he wants, though. I’m not going to change my game.

“I’m here for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to win some games here and to ultimately win the series. He can say whatever he wants to say. … I think it was a bit (personal), but doesn’t matter. He’s not my friend. He’s not going to be my friend. He can say whatever he wants.”

In a way, you almost hope the end up being teammates one day. This is why the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are so exciting. Rivalries are born in seven-game series. Oh yeah, Nashville leads the best-of-seven-series 2-1.

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