The Anaheim Ducks spoiled the Nashville Predators final game before the Winter Olympics picking up a 5-2 win in Music City.
The bounces were in the Ducks favor tonight, as the NHL’s top team collected two goals off Predators players and a power play tally that found its way through a crowd.
“They got two goals off us,” Predators forward Viktor Stalberg said. “That’s tough, but we battled back with a big power play goal by [Mike] Fisher in the third period. We also had a turnover that cost us a goal. We made a push, but it wasn’t enough.”
Nashville temporarily overcame the 2-1 deficit created by the Ducks two fortuitous goals when forward Mike Fisher tied the contest at two early in the final period.
“Yeah we had some tough bounces that hurt us, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Predators defenseman Shea Weber. “We did some really good things. We fought hard and scored the power play goal, which got us back in. We just have to take the positives out of that.”
In the next seven minutes after the Predators tied the game, the Ducks found the back of the net twice. Currently the class of the NHL, Anaheim flashed one of their most potent weapons again tonight: the ability to strike quickly.
“You create your own chances,” Ducks forward Corey Perry said. “You go out there, and you do the things that got you here and stick with them and eventually it’s going to come. [...] Everyone’s going out on a high getting ready for the break now. And when we come back we’ll be that much hungrier.”
Despite the eventual 5-2 loss, Predators forward Mike Fisher remained positive about his team’s effort tonight and in recent weeks.
“I feel like we played good,” Fisher said. “We had some good chances, we played some good hockey. I don’t think it should have been a 5-2 game, but they’re opportunistic. They use the simplest mistakes to make opportunities and it just wasn’t our night. A couple of their goals were just off our guys, you can’t really do anything about that. Then another seeing-eye shot from the point, and that’s hockey, you know? It happens.”
The conclusion of tonight’s slate of NHL games begins a near three-week hiatus for all 30 teams during the Winter Olympic break. For the players not participating in the Olympiad, Fisher says that rest has to be the No. 1 priority.
“We’ve got to rest up over the break, that’s the main thing,” said Fisher. “We need to come back hungry. We’ve felt pretty good about our game. Take a vacation and rest up, you have to take the time when you can get it. When we get back we have to come back focused and have some good practices. There’s no reason why we can’t start playing the same good hockey we have been again.”
The Predators will have three players participating in the Olympic festivities in Sochi, Russia. Weber will patrol the blue line for Canada, while defenseman Roman Josi and forward Simon Moser will both play for Switzerland.
The rest of Nashville’s roster will be using their time off to heal, rest and refocus for the remaining 23 games that begin at the end of the month.
“If we rest up and then capitalize on the chance we’ve given ourselves in the standings, we can get in,” Fisher said. “I know it.”