The Anaheim Ducks topped the Preds 2-1 in a shootout victory to drop the Preds to 9th place in the Western Conference. Both teams have 78 points, but Anaheim claims the 8th spot by virtue of having one more win than the Preds. This was a tight checking game, with shots limited through the first two periods and scoring chances at a premium. Drew Miller put the Ducks up in the second 1-0 on a nice feed from Teemu Selanne. Shea Weber tied it in the third with his 20th goal of the season, scoring on a power play. Webs has the record for most goals by a Predator defenseman. The Preds out shot the Ducks 15-4 in the third, and had some glorious scoring chances, but couldn't bury the puck. Selanne had the only shootout goal, beating Pekka Rinne with a top shelf backhander.
The Preds now have 9 games left, and one would have to say that the advantage rests with the Ducks due to the strength of their remaining schedule. They have two games against the Avalanche, the last place team in the Western Conference, and one against Phoenix in their remaining nine games. The Preds are one point out of the playoffs with the Sharks coming to town on Thursday night. The road to the playoffs is not going to be easy- no one said it would. The guys showed heart tonight and have to bounce back and play with determination, grit, and heart over the remaining 9 games.
Kudos to the fans who cheered throughout the TV timeout at the 15 minute mark of the third period. This seemed to give an added boost to the team for the remainder of the game, and Coach Barry Trotz said as much in his post game remarks. The Preds are going to need their fans for the final four home games.
This loss hurts, not only from the standpoint of the standings, but because this team had a chance to put the win away in regulation and couldn't so so. So how do we respond? I think this team just shuts up and plays- with jam and heart. We believe in the guys on the ice. Dig deep, and just play, boys.