The Nashville Predators looked in control of their game with the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. After a scoreless first period, the Predators rode goals by Taylor Beck and Roman Josi to a 2-0 lead at the end of the second period.
Looks can be very deceiving.
The Ducks came out flying in the third period and the Predators folded like a cheap suit as the Ducks out skated and out worked the Predators over the final 20 minutes on their way to capturing a 4-2 victory.
Ryan Getzlaf, Nate Thompson,Kyle Palmieri, and Cam Fowler all tallied to destroy the Predators, who looked scared and lifeless in the face of the pressure by the Ducks.
- Pekka Rinne started even though he played last night. This is the second time this season that Rinne has played back to back games. Rinne was busier in the first period than in last night's game as he faced 10 shots from the Ducks after facing just 22 for the game from the Kings. While it may have looked like Rinne didn't have a good game, giving up 4 goals in the third period, the fact is that the team in front of him hung him out to dry. The play of the Predators in front of Rinne have cost him a chance at any post season hardware, and that is an absolute shame.
- Mike Fisher is a leader by his play, and a somewhat surprising aspect of his game is his willingness not only to be physical but to drop the gloves when it is necessary. The Ducks like to think they can bully their opponent and they reverted to that mode early in the second period when Ryan Kessler challenged Fisher to drop the gloves. Fisher obliged and held his own against a bigger foe. That response by Fisher not only energized the Predators but sent a message to the Ducks that their tactics would not work.
- Gabriel Bourque has played some very solid hockey, and his puck handling on the 2 on 1 with Taylor Beck was exceptional. He made Gibson respect his shot and slipped a nice pass to Beck, who buried the shot. Bourque has played a physical game on the fourth line and very sound hockey. good to see him rewarded for his efforts with the assist on the Beck goal.
- I really like Taylor Beck on the power play. One aspect of the man advantage unit that has been missing is an aggressive net front presence. Beck provides that, as he is hard to move and takes up space. His job is to take away the eyes of the goaltender and clean up rebounds, and he is well suited for that role.
- Filip Forsberg picked up an assist on the Josi goal, his 33rd of the season.
- Roman Josi is 5th among NHL defensemen with 48 points and 2nd with 194 blocked shots. Josi has quietly emerged as an elite defenseman in the NHL and plays a complete game in all zones.
- The Ducks didn't get their first shot on net in the second period until there was 6:26 remaining on the clock. A stellar defensive effort by the Predators in the second period that totally shut down a high powered offensive team.
- Every Preds fan knew the Ducks would come out pressing in the third period, and they did just that. The mark of a championship team is how they respond to their opponent's pushback. Early on in the third period, the Predators looked like they were just trying to survive. Heck, they were just trying to survive. The response from the Predators was...lacking to say the least.
- How bad was it in the third period? The Predators let the Ducks dictate the play and the Predators had absolutely no answer. Through the midway mark of the third, the Ducks had out shot the Predators 10-1 and the Predators looked as if the offensive zone was totally off limits. The Ducks out shot the Predators 15-4 in the third period. That is embarrassing and unacceptable.
- The Predators got a taste of playoff hockey in the third period. If their response is a sign of things to come, it does not bode well for the Predators when the post season rolls around. I hope I am wrong about this assessment, but the total lack of response by the Predators is disheartening to say the least.
The Ducks played playoff hockey in the third period. The Predators...well, to be nice all I can say is they didn't bother to show up.
And that is troubling.
My three stars:
1. Kyle Palmieri
2. Ryan Getzlaf
3. Roman Josi