Saturday, April 16, 2011

Predators Hand the Ducks a 5-3 Victory

The Nashville Predators handed the second game of their Stanley Cup Series to the Anaheim Ducks by a margin of 5-3 to even their series at one. The Predators gave up a 5 on 3 power play as well as a power play goal and a goal one second after a power play had expired .

Nashville would open with their stalwart, Pekka Rinne, in net, while the Ducks would counter with a new netminder, Ray Emery.

The Predators opened the game in the worst possible way as Marty Erat was called for a ticky tack slashing call and that was subsequently followed up by a stupid slash by Shane O'Brien. Corey Perry tallied on the 5 on 3 advantage at  5:24. Jonathan Blum failed to clear a puck on a bad bounce and Teemu Selanne capitalized with the Predators still a man down to quickly make it  2-0 Ducks. Rinne had no chance on either of the Ducks goals, and for a while it appeared as if the Ducks were only going to be able to get a puck past him on the power play.

The Predators scored to make it 2-1 on a shot from Shea Weber, but the goal was waived off on a very close goaltender interference call against David Legwand.

As the period ended, the Predators were going to skate off the ice knowing they had not played a solid period of hockey. Now the test for the Predators was to going to be their ability to regroup and keep the game from getting out of hand.

The Predators brought the deficit to 1 with a goal on the power play from Shea Weber. The Predators did a good job o f getting the puck on net with traffic and that effort was enough to get the puck past Emery.

With the Predators threatening to seize momentum, the Ducks quickly swung Mo back their way when Bobby Ryan got behind the defense and beat Rinne with a follow up shot after a pad save at 7:12 of the second to make it 3-1.

The Ducks extended the lead to 4-1 as Ryan Getzlaf scored an even strength goal at 15:54. Game over, right?

The third period would prove that the Predators were not out of the game. Patric Hornqvist scored while doing the tough work in front of the net at 1:30 of the period. Hornqvist gathered in a rebound of of a Shea Weber shot and potted the goal to make it 4-2 Ducks.

Early in the period, Marty Erat was butt ended by Sheldon Brookbank and lost four teeth. Was there a call on the play? C'mon, this is the Ducks. This is their modus operendi. There was no call. Kudos to Erat for not missing a shift.

Joel Ward brought the Predators to within 1 at 4-3 with a shot from the slot that beat Emery at 10:17 of the third.

The Predators battled and generated some good scoring chances, but could not get another puck past Emery. Bobby Ryan sealed the win with an empty net goal.

As for the aforementioned Mr. Ryan. he was the perpetrator of a stomp on the top of the foot of Jonathan Blum in a scrum along the boards. The stomp was clearly caught on camera, and late word is that the NHL is going to review the play for supplemental discipline.

The Predators handed this game to the Ducks. Keep this factoid in mind: the Ducks have scored 6 goals; only 2 have been at even strength.

I don't think the Ducks can beat the Predators 5 on 5. So what does this mean? Simply put, the Predators have to stay out of the box. Stop taking stupid penalties and go back to simple Predator hockey: shoot the puck, crash the net, and make life miserable for Emery, Ellis, or whomever the Ducks drag out of the stands to play net.

I hope the boys learned from this tonight. Learn that you can't take stupid penalties; learn that you are going to have to amp up your intensity; and learn that you are better than the Ducks at even strength.

The Predators were not going to sweep the Ducks. They can beat them.

If you don't hand them the game.

My three stars:

1. Bobby Ryan

2. Shea Weber

3. Patric Hornqvist

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