The Anaheim Ducks were looking to rebound from a rough 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and they were able to push the Nashville Predators to a shootout before eventually falling 3-2 in the skills competition.
Let’s take a look at how this game turned out to end just barely in favor of the Nashville Predators.
The game began with Henrique centering a line of Corey Perry and.....*squints*.....Joseph Blandisi? Yep, alrighty then! The beginning of the game was rather cautious defensively from both teams, with nobody holding extended possession or generating much danger for the first few minutes. The first exciting action came just over four minutes into the game when Filip Forsberg crashed Anaheim’s crease rather dangerously and ended up on top of Ryan Miller. Andrew Cogliano gave him a rough ride and both ended up in the box with coincidental minors.
The 4-on-4 did not result in anything more than a couple shots from the Ducks, but immediately after the return to 5-on-5, Corey Perry was dumped in the crease, sending P.K. Subban to the penalty box for interference, giving the Ducks the first power play of the game. Unfortunately, despite a couple good chances, the Ducks were unable to capitalize on the man advantage.
Josh Manson decided to drop gloves with Cody McLeod and the two exchanged some fisticuffs in what has to be near the top of the list of heavyweight fights of this season.
Hampus Lindholm was called for hooking with 3:40 remaining in the opening period, giving the Predators’ 3rd-ranked power play unit their first chance of the evening. Luckily for Anaheim, Nashville was unable to make them pay on the power play, and the remaining time in the first period ticked away with the teams returning to the locker room as they had started, with the score level at zero. Shots on goal favored Anaheim (for the first time in a long time) 16-9 after the first twenty minutes.
The 2nd period began with a similar, frantic pace that the 1st saw plenty of. After the second (or third) melee of the game, the Predators came out with their 2nd man advantage of the game. With only eight seconds remaining in that power play, the Predators capitalized and took a 1-0 lead via Kevin Fiala, who had just finished slashing Nick Ritchie’s stick out of his hand. Nick Ritchie proceeded to then tackle Fiala out of frustration during the goal celebration. Another melee ensued, and the Ducks were given yet another power play out of the scrum. Things were getting ugly.
This power play was not as fortunate for the Nashville Predators as the Ducks were able to limit the damage and return to 5-on-5 unscathed with now under 10 minutes remaining in the middle frame.
Finally, the Ducks were able to break through on their 21st shot of the night to tie the game, and it came from the newest Anaheim superstar, Adam Henrique. His first goal in a Ducks sweater couldn’t have come at a better time to tie the game 1-1 at the 12:44 mark of the 2nd.
The remaining 7-plus minutes of the second saw a couple decent chances for both sides, but both goaltenders stood tall to heading into the second intermission with the score tied at one apiece. Shots on goal still favored Anaheim, but by a lesser margin, only 22-18.
The 3rd period started much like the first had, with both teams playing a cautious, defensive game, limiting shots to one apiece through the first four minutes.
CAM AMERICA TO THE RESCUE!
Cam Fowler ripped a wrist shot past a totally unscreened Pekka Rinne from the high slot to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead at the 5:01 mark of the final period. The shot did not look to be a really difficult shot to save, but Rinne simply missed on it. Weird...
With 9:46 remaining in regulation, the Predators received their 4th power play opportunity of the night, looking to find an equalizer. The Predators were, unfortunately for the Ducks, able to find the back of the net, courtesy of the 4th goal of the season from Calle Jarnkrok. Tie game at 2-2 with 8:43 to go in regulation.
Ryan Miller decided that apparently that was the last time he was ever going to let that happen, as he made a Save of the Year candidate stop on a puck that almost deflected over his body. He was able to scorpion kick his left leg up and just barely stop the puck from fully crossing the line to keep the score level.
The Ducks realized that they had yet to play like an absolute dumpster fire yet for the day, so they made sure to play that shift in a pivotal moment of the game, turning the puck over three separate times in the defensive zone. Thankfully, Ryan Miller was tired of hearing the Nashville fans chant his name and didn’t give them an opportunity to do it again.
The third period closed out at 2-2 and pushed the game into overtime, with the Predators having the edge in shots at 34-33.
The first three minutes of the overtime period saw the Ducks barely gain possession at all, but Nashville being held to no really dangerous chances. The Ducks were finally able to find their legs and put a little bit of pressure on Pekka Rinne and the defense of Nashville. However, neither team was able to find the back of the net in the allotted five minutes of 3-on-3, so on to the shootout they went!
Filip Forsberg - X
Corey Perry - X
Kevin Fiala - O
Adam Henrique - X
Kyle Turris - O
Predators win 3-2 in a shootout. One of the better efforts of the year from Anaheim falls just short of yielding them two points. The Ducks are back in action on Tuesday night when they travel to Sin City to take on the Vegas Golden Knights for the first time at T-Mobile Arena.