Final Score: Ducks 4, Preds 3 (SO)
Chart via NaturalStatTrick.com
Minor change to the lineup as Rene Bourque was inserted in place of Devante Smith-Pelly after having been scratched for the last two games. He almost had a great scoring chance in the first few minutes of the game also, but fumbled the pass at the side of Carter Hutton's crease. Other than that the first five or so were pretty well controlled by Nashville, getting the majority of shots to the net, but Frederik Andersen did well to keep the rebounds in the corners.
Near the middle of the period, Ryan Getzlaf had a partial breakaway but was being closed down by backcheckers so he was forced to shoot from the faceoff dot and Hutton made a nice, but relatively easy glove save. Only a few minutes later Matt Beleskey opened the scoring with his 17th goal of the season (!). Ryan Kesler forced Filip Forsberg into a turnover in neutral ice, Beleskey carried into the zone and used Anton Volchenkov as a screen, and it deflected off of the Defenseman's stick to beat Hutton over the glove hand. 1-0 Ducks.
For the rest of the period the Ducks did a fantastic job of keeping the Preds from even entering the zone with control, and once they did immediately turning it back the other way. The Ducks ended the period with a 1-0 lead and a 14-9 shot advantage.
Nashville tied the game backup right away in the second period. Mattias Ekholm had a heck of a shift, getting a shot off after coming from behind the net then returning to his point to receive a cross ice pass from Mike Ribeiro for the goal. The really interesting thing about this goal though was the play of Ryan Ellis, who was locked and loaded for the one timer at the blue line in the middle of the ice, Ribeiro's pass was right in his wheel house, but he just let it go through his legs to Ekholm, fooling just about everyone in the building. Andersen did get re-set for the shot, but couldn't stop it. 1-1 Tie.
One minute and 14 seconds later, Corey Perry restored the lead for the Ducks. Getzlaf carried in down the right wing, dropped the puck to Bourque who spotted Perry in the middle of the ice and zipped a pass to him. All Perry had to do was keep his stick on the ice and it redirected right through Hutton. 2-1 Ducks.
Perry also had a golden chance to make it 3-1 in the first five minutes of the second, when Sami Vatanen sailed a breakaway pass to him at the blueline from the faceoff dot inside the Ducks' zone. Perry felt the back pressure coming from Seth Jones and shot it over the bar before being wiped out.
Mike Fisher took the first penalty of the night after that for tripping Andrew Cogliano as the Ducks broke into the zone. The Ducks' power play was not as terrible as it has been lately, but still nothing special and was killed by the Preds.
Right around the midway point of the period, Hampus Lindholm got crushed by a hit from Shea Weber, who refused to let him up for a few seconds. When Hampus realized this he grabbed Weber's leg to get some leverage and flip him to the ice, but learned an important lesson: He's not as strong as Shea Weber.
The rest of the period was a steady stream of Ducks to the penalty box. First it was Francois Beauchemin for holding the stick of Viktor Stalberg. During that penalty, Ben Lovejoy broke his stick and borrowed Getzlaf's but because of that the Preds were able to hold the zone relatively easily, including a failed clearance by Lovejoy. Eventually Jones scored on a point shot that deflected off of Kesler and Lovejoy and bounced off the ice before going in. 2-2 tie.
The next penalty was to Perry as he tripped Weber, trying to get at a puck that was in Weber's feet along the boards. Again the Preds would capitalize when Freddy left the slightest of rebounds off of a Ryan Ellis point shot and Craig Smith converted. That's the 28th ranked power play in the league scoring 2-for-2 on the PP so far. 3-2 Preds.
Then came the stupid penalties. Immediately after the goal Tim Jackman was sent off for elbowing Paul Gaustad way behind the play. The Ducks were about to kill that one off when Freddy decided that he had had enough of Mr. Carrie Underwood in front of the net, gave Fisher a slash to the arm, dropped his stick then grabbed his head with both hands from behind, mid-play. Needless to say he was assessed a roughing minor, served by Jakob Silfverberg. The Ducks killed four seconds of 5-on-3 and the rest of the period, going into the third down a goal and down a man for 1:19.
Beauch broke his stick during the kill and borrowed one from a forward, but this time it didn't cost the Ducks. For the first few minutes of the period, Ducks players were falling all over the place, trying to draw some calls, and they did, but not from a dive. Matt Beleskey got massively held by Ekholm and tried to fight through it to get the call. That power play was actually really effective for the Ducks, who seemingly won every loose puck, held the zone a number of times, had lots of second chances but couldn't convert. Their best chance was one that went off the post, then created a scramble in front, and the play was blown dead, just as the puck came loose in front of Hutton (not for the first time in the game I might add).
The Ducks got another power play about five minutes later when Perry was rushing into the zone and got hacked down by a slash from Olli Jokinen (yes, he's still in the league) and, just for good measure, took a punch in the face from Eric Nystrom. Jokinen was the one that went off though. This power play wasn't quite as good, more like the one in the second period, decent but nothing too dangerous, other than a scramble or two.
For pretty much the rest of regulation, the Ducks were throwing the kitchen sink at the Preds. On one particular shift, Vatanen wound it up through the neutral zone and, as he does, tried to dangle through the entire defense. He almost made it, but as he got to the top of the crease he was wrecked by Roman Josi, who kind of sat on him in the crease and the net came off. Sami was slow to get up, but returned to the game a little later.
They did eventually break through with Beauch set up to the side of the net, Nate Thompson took a shot from the point. As it came in Beach created a little space with a cross check to the back of Weber, dug the puck off the side of the net and threw it to the front for Beleskey, but it bounced in off of the back of Hutton's goal stick. 3-3 Tie with 2:17 remaining in regulation.
For the second night in a row the Preds led with less than three minutes on the clock and were forced into overtime.
Even though the Preds had all five shots in the overtime, the best chance for either team in the 4-on-4 session was when Kesler almost had a breakaway but D had the angle on him (PS. The Preds are really good at that). He pulled back, passed to Beleskey but Bels couldn't get it to the net, later in that same shift though, one went right into Hutton's feet. The preds took it the other way and held on for ever until knocking net off.
The scariest moment from a Ducks' perspective in OT was, with three seconds left, Freddy made glove save and tried to play the puck just to wind the rest of the clock down, but it went right to Mike Ribeiro (who already had three points on the night), luckily he had to swoop around behind the net to control it and we were off to the skills competition.
Josi - Pad SAVE by Andersen
Perry - Pad SAVE by Hutton
Ellis - AMAZING SPRAWLING GLOVE SAVE BY ANDERSEN. I have no words, you just have to watch it for yourself:
Silfverberg - GOAL, shot from the left hashmark (as usual) Hutton got a piece of it, but it slipped through the five hole.
Smith - GOAL, came with speed, slowed waaaaaaaaaay down deked and scored
Kesler - Low blocker, as always. GOAL, game over, DUCKS WIN!
The Good: The last 10 minutes or so of the first period was really great from the Ducks, especially in terms of preventing Nashville from having any significant zone time. Really they were the better team all around if it wasn't for that march to the penalty box at the end of the second. Also I'll give a little nod to the PP, they looked good even though they didn't score, if they keep that up they'll start to click soon enough.
The Bad: While the Ducks had by far the better of the play in the third after killing the remainder of the penalty, only allowing three Nashville shots on goal in the final 20 minutes of regulation, there was one tactical thing that drove me nuts. Patrick Maroon was doing his pattented backhand pass from behind the net to the slot... a lot. No problem with that. The problem was that at least three times in the third period, with full control in the offensive zone the D-men intentionally dumped the puck into the corner to him to set it up. It was totally unnecessary and enfuriating, but all's well that ends well, I guess.
The Ugly: Lots of penalties, some really stupid ones and bad penalty killing against the third worst power play in the league isn't going to get it done on a regular basis.
3rd MVD: Sami Vatanen - You can never go wrong with Sami V, but really this is for two plays. The crazy amazing stretch pass to Perry in the second period and dangling through everyone in the third. Even though neither worked out, it's always great to see him going for it.
2nd MVD: Francois Beauchemin - Not sure what he was doing way down there, but made the play to get to overtime.
1st MVD: Matt Beleskey - Had a goal, a bunch of other great chances, and even though he didn't get a point, played a key role in the game tying goal, by sitting in front of the net being available for Beauch's attempted pass.
Next Game: Wednesday, January 6, 2015 home to the New York Rangers