After knocking off the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night 7-0, the Predators were looking to extend that momentum against the Ducks last night in their last meeting of the 2015-16 season (weird). Nashville picked off the Ducks earlier this season on October 22nd at home with a 5-2 victory, but Anaheim got their revenge at home shortly thereafter on November 1st with a 4-2 win. After a 4-1 victory in Carolina the night before, you’d think Anaheim would be a little worn out; oh no. As usual, the boys in gold and… orange came out scrapping. Here are some highlights from last night’s Western Conference match up:
• Around 6:56 in the first period (unsurprisingly) things started to get a little heated on the ice and a fist fight finally broke out. Between who? Mike Fisher and former Vancouver Canuck, Kevin Bieksa. Even if you don’t know what last night’s finally score was, there’s a good chance you’ve still come across the video/gif of Fisher vs. Bieksa at some point today. You haven’t? Here ya go:
I swear, it gets worse the more times you watch it. Bieksa ended up heading to the locker room afterwards, but came back. Apparently, per an interview after the game was over, it was not one of his real teeth, but a fake one. I don’t know… I’m not very familiar with fake teeth, but the thing looks like it’s hanging in there by a… root.
• After the tooth incident, the Ducks took a few penalties to give Nashville several chances on the powerplay. Shea Weber sent one of his infamous slapshots past Frederik Andersen for his sixth goal of the season. Roman Josi picked up the lone assist, which just so happened to be his 100th NHL assist.
• Just over a minute later at 10:47, Rickard Rakell would tie the game at 1 with his third goal of the season.
• James Neal would notch his ninth goal of the season with a softie between Andersen’s five-hole, giving Nashville the 2-1 lead.
• The second period would be a little less eventful for the most part, unless you are Miikka Salomaki. The rookie notched his first goal of the season at 6:13 into the second and chased Andersen from the net. Mattias Ekholm picked up his fifth assist on Salomaki’s goal.
• Oh yea, it wasn’t uneventful either if you are Pekka Rinne. Anaheim began to wake up during the second period and it was up to Rinne to keep them out.
https://twitter.com/MCHisTweeting/status/666804533629186048Pekka made several of these moves throughout the night, stopping all but two goals (38 total).
• Sleepy time sort of hit Nashville during the third, which usually happens in the second period. As mentioned before, Pekka saved some serious butt (as usual). Former Predator, Mike Santorelli netted his third goal of the season for Anaheim at 5:33, leaving the Ducks just down by one point. Lucky for Nashville, their boys held it together and sealed the victory 3-2.
• But not before Kevin Bieksa left another souvenir for the Predators.
I’ll admit, I’ve never seen a broken stick launched into the netting above the glass before. It looked like a slow moving boomerang when it snapped. I’m thinking it should be left there as a reminder to always keep an eye out for flying objects.
So the real MVP of this win against the Ducks is – no doubt – Pekka Rinne.
You know, he isn’t called “The Eraser” for nothing. He has been known in the past to erase a lot of mistakes. Last night was certainly no exception. The sloppy passes are a yellow flag, in my opinion. I missed Saturday night’s game (of course) so I did not see how well their stick-handling skills were, but the previous games (Toronto, Senators, Blues) it looked pretty rough. Some teams latch onto that weakness pretty quickly, others don’t quite grasp it quick enough and Nashville slipped by with the win. Rinne looked like good ole Pekka last night and it was a very good thing. Anaheim netted 40 SOG compared to Nashville 21; as mentioned above, Peks stopped 38 of those. The Ducks, despite playing the night before, sure didn’t look like a back-to-back game team; they were out for blood and the two points.
Alas, the home stance is over and Nashville is off to another road trip. The Predators’ next game is this Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 6PM.