After a nail-bitter of
third period game last night against the Kings, the Predators hopped on a bus and made the exhausting trip across the street to Anaheim this morning to face the Ducks. But not just any Ducks; nope. The Anaheim Ducks are currently 25-9-6 and not only the leader of the Western Conference, but the leader of the entire league. Needless to say, a win in regulation would look and feel wonderful for the Predators tonight.
SCRATCHES: James Neal (still day-to-day), Victor Bartley, and Miikka Salomaki
- The Ducks lit the lamp at 12:15 to get the “puck” rolling, a clean wrister from Matt Beleskey past Carter Hutton.
- Yes, Carter Hutton. Despite Pekka Rinne being a master in the net, he needs rest and cannot play in every single game; especially not this many back-to-backs. Contrary to popular belief, the man his human.
- Anaheim would tally 14 shots-on-net compared to Nashville’s nine, so give Hutton some credit, guys.
- Mattias Ekholm would get Nashville on the board at 1:38, not wasting any time tying up the game. Mike Ribeiro (24) and Filip Forsberg (23) nab the assists on Ekholm’s third goal of the season.
- Noteworthy: Filip Forsberg has now officially tied Alexander Radulov’s rookie record in points.
- Corey Perry wouldn’t give the Predators much time to celebrate, giving Anaheim the 2-1 lead at 2:52.
- At 13:50, Seth Jones would come in past Frederik Andersen for a powerplay goal. Ryan Ellis (12) and Mike Ribeiro (25) would pick up the assists on Jones’ second goal of the season.
- Moments later, at 17:14, Nashville would take a 3-2 lead with a powerplay wrister from Craig Smith (12). Ryan Ellis (13) and Mike Ribeiro (26) would nab the assists on this goal, too.
- This period, Nashville would take the lead in shots at 13 to Anaheim’s five.
- Just a few seconds remaining the the second, Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen decided to give Mike Fisher a nice “neck hug”. That nice gesture gave Nashville a powerplay opportunity going into the third, so thanks.
- The third period would be rather quiet until 17:43 when Francois Beauchemin decided to tie the game, his second goal of the season.
- Anaheim deserved this goal in third, as they took fourteen shots to Nashville’s meager three on goal.
- No goals, shootout time.
- NSH – Roman Josi – MISS
- ANA – Corey Perry – MISS
- NSH – Ryan Ellis – MISS
- ANA – Jakob Silfverberg – GOAL
- NSH – Craig Smith – GOAL
- ANA – Ryan Kessler – GOAL
Le sigh. An overtime loss to the leaders of the league. Believe me, it’s disheartening, but here’s the good news: it wasn’t a loss in regulation. Any points with how close the race is in the league (division, conference, league) is better than nothing. Keep that glass half full, my friends.
However, these blown late third period leads could spell trouble later on down the road if Nashville doesn’t get a firm grip on those quick. These types of instances are far worse an any terrible powerplay action could ever be. I am confident this issue will be addressed rather swiftly.
May I also suggest not placing the blame on Carter Hutton for the loss tonight. No, he does not have Pekka Rinne’s caliber, but remember, he’s in the NHL for a reason. Hutton blocked 30 of 33 shots tonight, which is pretty good for someone who rarely sees ice time. And no, Nashville will not be calling up a goaltender – Mangus Hellberg – to combat Carter Hutton; he’s not a bad goaltender. End of statement.
The Predators head home tonight to rest in preparation for the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. This may also be a good time to put Hutton in and give Pekka more rest.