First the good news: Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber finally scored his first goal of the season.
Now the bad news: it didn’t matter a bit.
In a game that was nearly identical to their last meeting on January 26th, the Preds twice took the lead only to see Anaheim tie things up both times and win the game in a shootout.
Nashville actually had plenty of jump in the first period, outshooting Anaheim 14-6. They took the 1-0 lead on David Legwand’s third goal of the season, a nice little job of garbage cleanup off in front of Viktor Fasth from a Jon Blum slapper. Within minutes, though, they had given up a goal to Matt Beleskey; Corey Perry camped out behind the Nashville net and was given all the time he needed to hit a streaking Beleskey in the slot for an easy score to tie the game at 1-1.
As it turned out, the Preds’ best chance to hit the tired Ducks had passed by the time the second period began and the Anaheim squad got their legs under them. Shots were 9-9 in the second. Shea Weber, who tallied six shots for the game, put the Preds ahead 2-1 at 9:31 with a booming slap shot from the right circle. It looked as if Gabriel Bourque might have deflected the shot, but in the end Weber got credit with assists to Roman Josi and Sergei Kostitsyn. Again, the lead wouldn’t hold: rookie Patrick Maroon scored his first NHL goal on a tip-in at 16:08 to make the score 2-2.
The Preds outshot the Ducks again in the third period, 9-5 this time, but Viktor Fasth stopped everything they threw at him and took the game to overtime. Even with a 4-on-3 advantage for the first 40 percent of the overtime period they couldn’t score, and Fasth held them off until the shootout. Nick Bonino beat Rinne, Craig Smith tied things up with a neat stop-and-go move on Fasth, Corey Perry gave the Ducks the lead, and the puck rolled off Gabriel Bourque’s stick to end the game with another shootout loss.
- This was one of those games where the Preds actually looked good and did most things right, yet still failed to win. That can be chalked up to their failure to beat Anaheim’s 29th-ranked penalty kill. Nashville had two power play opportunities in the first period and failed to convert on either. They began the second period, third period, and overtime with power play chances as well – and again failed to convert on any of them, going 0-for-5 on the night. The Preds’ power play is now 22nd in the league and sinking fast. They’ve only converted three times in their last 24 chances with the man advantage, dating back to the January 31st shootout win over Los Angeles.
- After taking a night off against Phoenix, Nashville returned to its dominant form in the faceoff circle, winning 37 of 63 thanks in large part to Mike Fisher (69 percent) and Paul Gaustad (68 percent).
- This year 40 percent of the Preds’ game have gone to a shootout. Pekka Rinne has lost twice as many as he’s won, very unusual for a man has historically has been one of the NHL’s best in the post-game skills competition.
- Shea Weber’s goal was the 100th of his career – congratulations, Captain!
That Viktor Fasth is really something, isn’t he? 8-0-0 to start his NHL career, a record bookended by shootout wins over Nashville.
- Nashville outshot Anaheim 34-22 on the night, marking two straight games where they’ve outshot the opposition.
- Colin Wilson picked up his team-leading 10th point of the season, assisting on Legwand’s goal in the first period.
- Sergei Kostitsyn was the only Nashville Predators forward who didn’t register a shot on goal. He has now taken 10 shots in 15 games, an average of .67/game, the lowest of his entire career. It’s almost like Sergei witnessed a horrific crime during the lockout, one that began with someone he loved and trusted shooting the puck; now, whenever he wants to pull the trigger, he’s unable. Somebody get SK74 some therapy, please. The guy’s getting paid far too much not to put the puck on net at least once a game.