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Ducks @ Predators RECAP: Hockey is Drunk in Nashville

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Anaheim loses after a bizarre start to a forgettable game.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to some unlucky bounces and poor penalties Anaheim would end up in a deficit that they just couldn’t ever seem to overcome. When it came down to it, both teams caught a few breaks, but Nashville capitalized on their opportunities, and Pekka Rinne stopped more chances than John Gibson.

Anaheim took 3 penalties within the first ten minutes of the game, a consistent theme to the early part of this Ducks season. By giving the opponents time and space to handle the pucks early in the games they set themselves up for the slow starts their experiencing.

The third of those penalties was the most questionable of the calls, and was the one that finally led to a Predators goal. As Jakob “The Hulk” Silvferberg was called for taking down Roman Josi in a battle for a loose puck (AKA Roman Josi tripped and the referee stunned everyone as he blew his whistle).

The Ducks would end up with a power play, as the tide seemed to turn in their favor. Sam Steel and Ryan Getzlaf continued to show good chemistry on special teams, connecting on passes through the crease, giving the Ducks good opportunities.

The turn of luck was short lived, however. As the power play came to a close when Adam Henrique passed the puck to a non-existent point man, sending the puck out of the zone and right into the feet of Colton Sissons, who jumped out of the box and caught Gibson out of position in a 1-on-1 opportunity.

The Ducks would catch a small break, as Ondrej Kase got a 1-on-1 opportunity of his own thanks to a nice outlet pass from Nick Ritchie, but the story of the game continued to be the lack of finish.

Half a minute into the start of the second period the Predators would score on a lucky shot from the point, and any momentum the Ducks might have created to finish the first was immediately wiped out.

From that moment on, the story of the game was pretty consistent. 5-on-5 the Ducks played a decent game and created some fine offensive opportunities, but would ultimately lose all the important puck battles and couldn’t finish around the net.

The Ducks got another break when Troy Terry was slashed on a breakaway, giving him a penalty shot, but again, he couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity.

The Ducks would continue to play admirable 5-on-5 hockey. Getzlaf and Ritchie both combined for a few good shots that started to gain some momentum for the Ducks, but again a miscue was all it took to undo any progress made.

Skating through the neutral zone, Getzlaf and Lindholm mishandled a pass, giving the shorthanded Predators open ice for another 1-on-1 opportunity with Gibson, which they capitalized on.

Enter Ryan Miller.

Down four, Dallas Eakins pulled Gibson out of mercy, inserting Miller into the game for the final period. In an encouraging sign for the future, even down 4-0 the Ducks never gave up and Getzlaf was visibly vocal with the team on the bench.

Good offensive pressure led to a turnover that Getzlaf netted, making the game 4-1, but shortly after the Predators would score again, essentially sealing the game with ten minutes to go, and a 6-1 victory for Nashville.

BEST

Troy Terry is creating a lot of dangerous opportunities, and looks significantly more comfortable playing with the big club than last season.

Sam Steel has also put together a nice start to the season for himself, anchoring an active third line and creating dangerous opportunities with Getzlaf on the first power play unit.

WORST

John Gibson wasn’t bad in this game, but the Ducks have clearly become too accustomed to relying on him to cover for their poor starts, which tonight was too large a task to ask.

Both Max Jones and Max Comtois were coming off consecutive good performances, but were healthy scratches for this game. It’s early in the season, but hopefully as play continues to shake out these two see significantly more playing time.

3 Stars of the Game

3. Sam Steel

2. Troy Terry

1. Ryan Getzlaf