By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AnaheimDucks.com ANAHEIM – A spotty defense and penalty kill that had plagued the Ducks during their current losing skid wasn’t a problem Friday night against Nashville. But an ability to find the net certainly was.
All of Anaheim's 28 shots – the majority coming from the perimeter – were turned away by Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne in a 1-0 shutout defeat at Honda Center. It was the fifth straight loss for the Ducks, and it came in the third game of a seven-date homestand that at one time had hopes of getting them into playoff position.
"We were in the hockey game," said Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf. "We had some chances to score goals and we didn’t. The overall desperation has to go up and the determination to get those goals. We’re at a point where the puck is not bouncing our way. We have to work to make it bounce our way."
With the loss, the Ducks remained seven points behind Calgary for the eighth spot and fell 11 points behind Nashville, which owns the seventh slot. The Preds were just a day removed from a 8-5 loss in San Jose in which they gave up six third period goals.
"We knew what happened with them last night," Corey Perry said. "I’m sure they are not happy about what happened. They tightened it up and played strong defensively."
Nashville scored the game’s only goal with just over two minutes left in the first period, courtesy of Shea Weber on the 5-on-3. Nashville got the two-man advantage following an Aaron Ward interference penalty and an ill-advised cross check by Getzlaf to the face of David Legwand that earned Getzlaf two for high sticking.
Weber quickly made Anaheim pay for it, firing a one-timer from near the right wing circle over Jonas Hiller’s glove.
Hiller did everything he could to keep the Ducks in it otherwise, saving 27 Nashville shots. Rinne had 31 stops in earning his fourth shutout of the season.
"We didn’t really have a glorious number of chances," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "It was tight and it seemed they were content playing that way once they got the 5-on-3 goal. They were keeping four guys above the puck as much as possible and try to block people out. We had some chances. We just weren’t able to get one to go into the net for us."
It was just the second regulation loss to Nashville at Honda Center in Anaheim's franchise history, the only other Predators win coming January 31, 2001. The Ducks are 17-2-3 lifetime against the Preds at home.
"I still think as a group we don’t seem to be engaged emotionally in the hockey game," Carlyle said. "There is for spurts, but not for 60 minutes right now. That is what has been really been frustrating for everybody. The bench is quiet. The room is quiet. It’s like we’re waiting for something bad to happen."
3rd Period 20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks are shutout, 1-0.
19:15 - Hiller to the bench. Six for Anaheim.
18:50 - Ducks getting ready to send Hiller.
18:15 - Beleskey and Marchant with tries on net. Nothing.
16:05 - Ducks spend an eternity in the Nashville end, but can't put anything good on goal.
12:10 - Blake gets in deep, saved by Rinne. Selanne tries to chip in the rebound, saved by Rinne.
9:54 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. hooking and NSH Penalty - Patric Hornqvist, 2 min. holding the stick.
A pretty decent wave goes through Honda Center. I haven't seen that in here in ... maybe ever. Not sure it's a good thing.
Video montage during the break that includes Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks giving his team a speech before the Russia game. Hope it helps.
4:30 - Hiller bails out Brookbank with a stop on Goc after Brookbank made a bad turnover from deep in his own end.
3:10 - Visnovsky is a shooting machine. He's got 7 of the 21 Anaheim shots tonight. But the fact that's coming from a d-man is not such a good thing.
0:50 - Ducks get bailed out when Wilson is on the doorstep looking at an open net for the one-timer, but either fires it high or a diving Hiller gets a piece.
0:00 - Here we go in what I promise you will be a good third period for the Ducks.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Another not-so-great one for the Ducks as neither team gets on the board and it's still 1-0 Nashville.
15:27 - Redirect by Koivu off a nice Visnovsky feed is just stopped by Rinne.
14:45 - Marchant's penalty runs out and the Ducks get on the power play, with Niedermayer firing a rare slap shot high and wide. Oh, and by the way, free taco.
13:10 - NSH Penalty - Martin Erat, 2 min. tripping. Just after jumping on the ice, Beleskey draws the trip on Erat in the Anaheim zone.
12:26 - ANA Penalty - Todd Marchant, 2 min. tripping. Right off the draw, Marchant takes down Goc.
10:15 - Turnover city for Anaheim right now. Not good.
Does Kiss Cam ever disappoint?
6:10 - Great pass by Bodie to set up Chipchura wide open on the wing, but he has trouble with the handle before wristing it into Rinne's gut. Still, I'm growing to really like Troy Bodie.
5:30 - Ryan makes a nifty move to pick up speed on the wing, then tries to cross over in front of the net, but it's poked away by Weber just before he goes crashing into his goalie and knocks the net off.
4:30 - Great positioning by Hiller, as he slides over to stop a Tootoo one-timer.
3:39 - Clean livin' for Hiller, who is sprawled out at the top of the crease when the puck comes to Marcel Goc but is still able to deny his shot.
1:21 - Ryan tries to push the puck through in the crease, but Rinne lays on it. He gets a quick whistle just before Ryan jabs at it and sends it through on the other side. But after what happened in front of that goal during Game 3 of the Detroit series last year, we're not complaining about quick whistles.
0:00 - And away we go.
I love walking the concourse during intermission. Within a matter of seconds, I saw three things you don't see that often: a guy in a Ryan Carter jersey, a guy in a Rob Niedermayer jersey and a guy wearing way-too-short running shorts.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks outshoot the Preds, 14-9, but go down a goal thanks to a couple of costly penalties.
17:54 - NASHVILLE GOAL (POWER PLAY) - SHEA WEBER - With the Preds on a 5-on-3, Weber plays catch with Jason Arnott before firing a high one-timer over Hiller's glove. Nashville strikes first blood.
17:36 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. high sticking. Getzlaf gets Legwand in the mug with a cross check. Not a smart play.
17:29 - Hiller has a little trouble with it, but ultimately holds a point shot by Cody Franson.
17:19 - ANA Penalty - Aaron Ward, 2 min. interference. Right back to the box for Ward.
15:42 - NSH Penalty - Patrick Hornqvist, 2 min. high sticking. 27 for Nashville gets 27 for Anaheim in the face.
It's trivia time and the dude is asked which of these Ducks players made his debut with the Ducks against Nashville last season -- Brookbank, Brown or Wisniewski. He guesses Brookbank and he's ... wrong. It's Brown. I feel like Alex Trebek acting like I knew the answer, though I really didn't.
15:13 - ANA Penalty - Aaron Ward, 2 min. boarding. Ward checks Erat and he goes into the wall. He doesn't agree with the call and I'm not sure he's not right. (Was that a triple negative?)
14:25 - Selanne tips a Visnovsky shot from the point and it literally rolls across the top of the crossbar.
13:00 - Hiller makes a heads-up sop on a quick shot by Dustin Boyd.
9:50 - Shot rifled by Wiz, saved.
6:27 - ANA Penalty - Mike Brown and NSH Penalty - Kevin Klein, 2 min. roughing. Brown and Klein get a little feisty after the whistle. Still, he was great in A Fish Called Wanda.
6:23 - Blake, alone in the offensive zone, tries to draw one going hard to the net, and although he goes down near Suter, no arm goes up.
4:45 - Visnovsky speeds down the wing and throws it on net. The more I see this guy, the more I like him.
2:45 - Hiller takes in a shot from the point and holds it, prompting the theme from "Superman" over the sound system. That's a new one.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Newcomer (as far as I know) Paige Williams and her mesmerizing blue eyes perform a very nice version of the anthem.