By Amanda DiPaolo
The Nashville Predators ended their road trip out West in Anaheim to take on the Ducks at Honda Center with another loss. Going into the game, Nashville lost four straight and were trying to avoid going down five in a row on Sunday night.
Not a minute into the game, Selanne scored to take a 1-0 lead over the Predators at 52 seconds into the first period. Not the start Nashville wanted to build some confidence. It was Selanne’s 7th of the season.
But Nashville had an answer to Selanne. Patric Hornqvist scored his fifth goal of the season, tipping in a Cal O’Reilly shot at 2:34 of the first period.
The Ducks were able to retake the lead when Saku Koivu scored his second goal of the season against the Predators. Selanne and Rob Blake were awarded assists. It was Koivu’s fourth of the season.
Again, Nashville answered. Hornqvist was able to cut off a pass from the Ducks at the blue line, keeping the puck in the Ducks’ zone and passed it to Steve Sullivan who was behind the Anaheim defense. Sullivan walked in all alone and sent the puck over the glove of Hiller on the backhand. It was Sullivan’s 5th goal of the season. Hornqvist and O’Reilly picked up the assists.
The second period was scoreless, but Nashville did have a couple power play opportunities. The only time Nashville had a full two minutes of power play time in the middle frame was when Ryan Carter was called for interference. Carter was about to play the puck but instead hit Goc unnecessarily. The best scoring chance on the power play actually was from Anaheim when the puck was dumped into the Predators end to kill off some time. Lindback was not ready for the accuracy of the shot and had to make an awkward save with less than four minutes left in the second period.
Going into the third period all tied up at 2 meant it was a new 20 minute game. Nashville had a real chance at ending their 4 game losing streak. But if they were going to win the game it wouldn’t be easy. Lubomir Visnovsky scored his second of the season just a minute into the third period.
Franson scored 6:15 into the third period to tie the game when he threw the puck into traffic and it went off a Ducks defenseman and in behind Hiller. It was Franson’s third goal of the season.
Shane O’Brien took a penalty at 8:05 of the third period. Visnovsky was going in deep with the puck and O’Brien held the stick of the defenseman in order to prevent a shot on goal. Just as the Predators had killed off the penalty, O’Brien wasn’t able to get back into the play before the Ducks scored the go-ahead goal. Koivu scored his second of the night. He deflected it off a shot by Anaheim’s defenseman Toni Lydman.
Visnovsky drew another penalty, this time on Steve Sullivan. But the Predators killed it off and then Franson sent a pass out front to an open Cal O’Reilly who was able to tip-in the Franson shot. The goal came less than 4 minutes left in the game.
Moments later, with 3:28 to go, Jordin Tootoo was called for slashing the stick. It was the third power play for the Ducks in the third period. It should be noted that the Ducks have the second best power play at home in the NHL and had yet to capitalize during the game on the power play so what the Predators did next would be huge. And the Predators were able to kill it off.
It looked like the Predators were going to get at least a point out of the game as the final 30 seconds of the game had the Predators in the offensive zone, but they couldn’t keep it in and in a broken up play down the other end Paul Mara scored with 1.7 seconds left and beat Nashville 5-4. No one was covering Mara and all the attention was on the puck holder, Bobby Ryan. Shea Weber actually flew his body across the ice in an attempt to stop a Ryan shot, but he was able to get the puck across the ice to Mara, who picked up his first goal of the season.
Sergei Kostitsyn didn’t play for Nashville. Instead, Wade Belak dressed for Nashville. Belak saw extremely limited ice time and there were no fights so one has to wonder if Kostitsyn is again injured.
Next up for Nashville is the Predators third game, of six, against the St. Louis Blues. Nashville visits the Blues on Thursday night and does not play until then. Nashville has been stuck at 13 points since October 24th. Only Edmonton, Calgary and Phoenix have worse records.
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. The next Predators home game is Saturday night, November 13th when the Preds take on the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.