Four goals in a span of 8:07 in the second period proved to be the difference as the Anaheim Ducks ended the Nashville Predators three-game winning streak with a 5-2 decision on Monday night at the Honda Center.
Marek Zidlicky posted a multi-point (1g-1a) effort in defeat, while J.P. Dumont scored in his fifth straight game to build on a personal best and match a franchise record for longest goal-scoring streak.
It wasn't a great matchup, but we got away from what we were doing," head coach Barry Trotz said. "They're a big team with good defense and good goaltending. They got four goals within eight minutes and turned the tide big-time."
The Predators possessed the game’s early momentum, and used it to draw a penalty to Travis Moen just four minutes and change into the game. On the ensuing power play, Nashville’s leading point producer from the blue line, Zidlicky, made the Ducks pay, belting a howitzer from the left point to give the Preds the lead at 4:59. Ville Koistinen set up Zidlicky for the one-time slap shot to pick up the lone assist.
The goal was Zidlicky’s third of 2007-08, two of which have come with the man advantage. The rookie Koistinen has eight assists on the year, six of which have come while skating a man up, placing him among the rookie leaders in that category.
Predator scoring chances came fast and furiously as the opening frame progressed, and goaltender J-S Giguere was the only reason the visitors didn’t score a handful of goals. Over the first 14 minutes, Nashville outshot Anaheim by a 7-1 margin.
The territorial advantage shifted as the Ducks got their legs under them late in the period, and turned the tables in terms of shots and scoring chances, but they were unable to solve the confident-looking Dan Ellis in the Predators net. Nashville held a 9-7 shot advantage after 20 minutes.
Moen would redeem himself in the opening minute of the second period. Just 42 second in, he flipped a juicy rebound created by a Sean O’Donnell point shot over Ellis to knot the game at 1-1.
Ville Koistinen and Marek Zidlicky, who connected for Nashville's first goal at 4:59 of the first period, celebrate the power-play marker that gave the Predators a 1-0 lead.
A mere 69 seconds later, Anaheim would take a 2-1 lead on another goal scored by crashing the net and burying a rebound. This time, a drive by Mathieu Schneider generated the second-chance offering, which Chris Kunitz flipped over a sprawling Ellis from the doorstep. The go-ahead goal was scored while 6-on-5 – Giguere had gone to the bench for an extra attacker on a delayed penalty to Nashville.
"They're a team that has lots of veteran leadership and they've got good players. So when you give them good opportunities, they are going to find the back of the net," Nashville goalie Dan Ellis said. "Their young forwards are superstars in the NHL - Getzlaf, Perry and Kunitz. We had a really strong first period, but I think they outmuscled us in the second period and we got thrown back on our heels."
Tough guy Darcy Hordichuk attempted to rally his bench with a spirited go-around with Anaheim’s enforcer, George Parros, at 3:51.
It was Anaheim that would respond though. The overwhelming pressure forced Nashville to take two quick penalties starting at 5:51, and the Ducks would take a two-goal lead on the two-man advantage at 7:39. Chris Pronger would get the goal, blasting a one timer from the top of the left face-off circle that deflected off a Nashville defender, and into the top of the net.
The power-play assault continued after the Predators got one of their men back, with Corey Perry scoring at 8:49. It was another one timer, but this time it was from the bottom of the left face-off circle, with Kunitz feeding Perry with a cross-ice pass.
The four goals against in 8:07 set a franchise record for fastest four goals by an opponent vs. Nashville. The previous mark was 8:41 held by the Florida Panthers on Dec. 13, 2005. The four goals in the middle 20 minutes also tied the mark for most tallies against in a single period.
Anaheim would outshoot Nashville 17-5 in the middle 20 minutes and 23-7 from the 16:00 mark of the first period to the end of the second frame.
Martin Erat attempts to elude Francois Beauchemin as they battle for a puck behind the Anaheim net in the second period.
Nashville used one of two early third-period power plays to close back within two goals at 4:11. The second man-advantage marker in three tries came courtesy of a simple give-and-go play between Dumont and Jason Arnott. Upon taking a pass from Zidlicky in the slot, Dumont chipped the puck off to Arnott, then fended off two defenders to cram the return pass by Giguere’s outstretched left leg pad.
Dumont’s goal extended his career-best goals streak to five games, and tied a franchise mark also held by Steve Sullivan (2005), Greg Johnson (1999) and Sergei Krivokrasov (1998). The Montreal, Que., native has five points (3g-2a) in his past three contests and 12 points (8g-4a) in his last 11 games.
Arnott’s primary assist gives him 13 points (6g-7a) in his last 11 games, while the helper earned Zidlicky his second multi-point effort in the last six games after having none in his first 33 games of the season.
At 13:43, Ryan Getzlaf would put the game out of reach by scoring the Ducks fifth and final goal, the third Anaheim goal created by a rebound. Perry made the goal happen with a display of speed and skill, slicing through the Nashville defense and putting the initial shot on net. Getzlaf simply picked up the garbage sitting on the crease’s edge.
Both teams finished with two power-play goals – the Predators on four attempts and the Ducks on three. Anaheim outshot the Predators 37-22 for the game.
The Predators return to the ice in Southern California in less than 24 hours when they take on the Los Angeles Kings down the road at the STAPLES Center. Game time is scheduled for 9:30 p.m., with all the action being broadcasted on FSN South and 104.5 The Zone.
Game Notes: Nashville scratched Kevin Klein and Jed Ortmeyer, while the Ducks sent Bobby Ryan and Joe DiPenta to the press box… The home team has won the last eight meetings and 10 of the last 11 in this series dating back to Oct. 8, 2005… Nashville is now 2-1-0 in the month of January. It went 10-3-0 in the month last year, and has a winning record in the year’s first month six times in the franchise’s eight seasons… Jerred Smithson played his 200th career game on Monday vs. Anaheim… Alexander Radulov saw his career-best six-game point streak end (5g-4a)… David Legwand won four of the five faceoffs he took on Monday (80%)… Five Predators logged more than 20 minutes of ice time, with Ville Koistinen leading the way (21:03) – the first time he has led the team in ice time in his short career… These teams meet for the next time in 10 days, on Jan. 17 at the Sommet Center.
1 - 0 NSH
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 ANA
3 - 1 ANA
4 - 1 ANA
4 - 2 ANA
5 - 2 ANA