NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Jason Arnott and Shea Weber broke long goal droughts - and finished off the Anaheim Ducks, too.
Arnott broke a tie with his first goal in 10 games to help the Nashville Predators beat Anaheim 3-1 on Saturday night.
Midway through the third period, Weber carried the puck into the Anaheim zone and found Arnott on the left side. From just above the left faceoff dot, Arnott beat Jonas Hiller high to the stick side with a slap shot.
"It's been crazy the last week or so with chances, posts, and things like that, but the other guys have been picking it up in that regard and winning games offensively," Arnott said. "It gets a little bit of the pressure off of you a little, but you always want to go out and score goals to help the team win."
His coach was happy to see the captain find the back of the net again.
"The last couple of nights, he's had some glorious chances, but the pucks been jumping, hitting him in the skates, getting into the Bermuda Triangle as a player would call it, and really locking him up," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Sometimes you can get a bit frustrated."
The Predators have won three straight, while the Ducks have lost three in row on the road.
"We gave ourselves a chance," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "We missed an assignment on neutral ice, and Arnott made a big time shot."
Anaheim's Mike Brown opened the scoring at 7:45 of the opening period.
Evgeny Artyukhin sent the puck toward the Nashville net, but Pekka Rinne was unable to cover with his glove, and a sliding Brown was able to get his stick on it and put it by the Finnish goalie for his fifth goal of the season. Brown has scored in consecutive games for the first time in his 108-game NHL career.
Weber tied it at 1 with 4:33 left in the second period.
The goal came on a succession of slap shots from Weber. Hiller denied the Canadian Olympian on his first two attempts, but the third shot in an 11-second span sailed by the goalie's glove.
"Guys made some great plays getting me the puck, and I just tried to get shots through," Weber said. "Hiller played great in the first and did a great job for them. We could have been up a couple of goals coming out of the first."
Weber's goal was his first since Nov. 25, a span of 18 games. He tied a career high with 10 shots on goal in the game.
"We didn't play our best the first two periods," Hiller said. "We gave up a lot of scoring chances."
Rinne preserved the win with a glove save on James Wisniewski with 8 seconds remaining in the third. Rinne finished with 25 saves.
David Legwand's empty-net goal at the buzzer accounted for the final scoring.
NOTES: The Ducks have scored just one power-play goal in their last six games. ... Nashville D Kevin Klein returned to the lineup after missing a game because of an upper-body injury. ... Arnott's goal was his 100th for Nashville.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On Jason Arnott breaking out of a goal-scoring slump…
The last couple games he’s had some great chances. Sometimes you can get a bit frustrated. The last couple of nights he’s had some glorious chances, but the puck’s been jumping, hitting him in the skates, getting into the “Bermuda Triangle,” as a player would call it, and really locking him up.
On coming back after Anaheim opened the scoring…
We’re pretty resilient and we’ve got pretty good poise. We had some glorious chances, but Hiller was able to find the handle on some of them. It took a little bit of energy out of our team [when Anaheim scored], but we got going again in the second and third. The last couple of games we haven’t scored first, but we’ve stayed with it and we’ve played really good team defense, which has led to us getting some good offensive chances, and let us win some games. Rather than 5-3 or 5-4, we’ve had to win the 2-1 games. It’s allowing us to win games differently. Whatever you throw at us, we can play in that type of game.
On Shea Weber’s First-Star performance…
Shea was playing injured for a long time – about six weeks – and it affected his play. He really wanted to be on the Olympic team – you can see the weight’s off his shoulders. He’s got so much jump; everything is firm and crisp and clear. He’s back to what we’re used to.
On six Nashville players having been selected to the Olympics…
The Olympic tournament, especially when you get into the top four or five teams, is the best of the best. That is as great an experience as anybody could have. Being selected obviously means that you’re doing something good in this league, and that you’ve achieved that ‘elite’ status. Players always talk about winning a Stanley Cup – that’s the ultimate for any player – but to represent your country at the Olympics, it’s a pretty big deal. The Olympics is another level – this is the big one. It’s probably easier to win a Stanley Cup in the sense that you’ve got to be good for a short period of time. In terms of the pressures of the world stage, it doesn’t get any bigger than that.
On selecting a starting goaltender…
I don’t think I can make a bad decision right now – I can close my eyes, get the quarter out and flip it. Both of them could do a good job for us. That is the luxury that we have, and it’s going to be really important for us. We’re going to look at the teams that we’re playing, and who’s had some success against certain teams, or maybe we just keep rotating. If you’re asking me who’s going to play next game, I haven’t even thought about it.
Forward Jason Arnott
On scoring the game-winning goal…
It just wasn’t going in the net. I just kept going and then finally it did and it was a relief. When they won’t go in and you get that many chances, it can get frustrating. But everybody has been chipping in and scoring and we haven’t really needed it a whole lot because everybody has been scoring.
On the team feeling frustrated because of all of the missed scoring chances…
Hiller played an amazing game. He just stood his ground and we kept going the way we were going and hopefully it was going to go in for us and it did. We could’ve had a lot more.
Defenseman Shea Weber
On being selected by the Canadian Olympic team…
I’m just happy I get to keep playing. A lot of other guys have to sit for a couple of weeks. But it’s still not easy out there. I thought we played well tonight.
On the overall play in tonight’s game…
I thought we did a good job getting pucks to the net. Hiller played a great game. He made a lot of great saves.
On having more room to shoot tonight…
Well, I don’t know. There were just a couple of great passes and I just kept trying to get the puck to the net. Hornqvist was there and I just got lucky to get one in there.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On getting the win tonight…
We showed a lot of confidence, even though we aren’t scoring as much. We just have to keep going and keep shooting the puck.
On ending the first period down a goal…
That first goal gives you some momentum so I think that we still played pretty well. We felt pretty confident and we felt comfortable and even though we didn’t score in the first period I still think that we felt that we could score because we were getting a lot of chances.