Friday, April 4, 2014

Predators Step On the Ducks 5-2

The Nashville Predators have struggled on offense this season. The Anaheim Ducks have scored goals in bunches.

In their contest in Anaheim, the team reversed roles, as the Predators exploded for four first period goals on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Ducks.

The first period was one where the Predators attacked the net with a vengeance. The Predators got 9 shots on Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller and capitalized on 4 of those shots by driving the net and making life miserable for Hiller. They banged in 4 goals including two by Colin Wilson.

Mike Fisher and Patric Hornqvist also tallied for the Predators.

That effort chased Hiller from the game and Frederik Andersen entered the game for the Ducks.

Kyle Palmieri got the only goal of the period for the Ducks on a defensive breakdown that resulted in Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne having no chance on the shot.

The second period opened with the Ducks applying pressure and getting a goal from Daniel Winnik to make it 4-2.

The Predators answered that goal with Mike Fisher's second goal of the night to make it 5-2. Shea Weber hammered a shot that appeared to hit Andersen in the mask and stun hi,. The puck dropped to the ice in the blue paint and Fisher slapped home the rebound.

Andersen did not return to the game and was not on the bench in the third period as Hiller returned to the game.

Rinne made some excellent saves, some from point blank range to keep the Ducks off the board.

With no scoring in the third period, the Predators skated away with a solid win over a potent Ducks squad.

Some observations:

  • The Predators opened the game with good jump and were relentless in going to the net. hiller was giving up rebounds and the Predators capitalized on those opportunities, beating Ducks defensemen to the pucks in prime scoring position.

  • The Predators power play was 0-3, but the penalty kill was excellent, killing all 4 power plays for the Ducks.

  • Fisher's two goals give him 20 for the season.

  • The Ducks have shown they can score goals. Witness their comeback from a 4 goal deficit against Winnipeg. The Predators defense did a good job of containing the Ducks scorers, holding Corey Perry to 2 shots on goal, while Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selaane each had 1 for the game. The Predators held the Ducks to just 5 shots in the third period.

  • The Ducks had a goal disallowed after review in the second period. The puck was rattling around in a goal mouth scramble, and the review showed no proof the puck crossed the goal line. Another apparent goal was waved off by the on ice officials and was not reviewed.

  • Rinne had a very good game. The Ducks got some excellent chances from close in in the first two periods, and Rinne made some solid saves.

  • This was the kind of game that Predator fans had been hoping to see all season from Colin Wilson. He skated well and went to the prime scoring areas. Hopefully this is the kind of game that we will see consistently from Wilson.

  • Weber's shot that hit Andersen in the mask was a rocket that stunned him. He couldn't find the rebound that Fisher put home for the 5th goal. Andersen was obviously hurt by that shot as he was not on the bench for the third period.

The Predators need to continue to play like they did tonight. This kind of effort can be something positive on which to build for the coming season.

They get their chance to build on this tomorrow night at San Jose.

My three stars:

1. Mike Fisher

2. Colin Wilson

3. Pekka Rinne

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