Predators can't buy a goal in 4-0 loss at Anaheim

Despite putting 40 shots on goal that tested an often wobbly Jonas Hiller in net for Anaheim, the Nashville Predators couldn't get on the board and ultimately fell 4-0 to start their four-game road trip Thursday night.

After the jump we've got the recap, the video highlights, and extended stats...

The Preds put together a game effort considering all the key players missing from the lineup. Overall, the Preds enjoyed a wide advantage in Total Shots, reflecting a willingness to fire the puck; while Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller left several rebounds available, however, the Preds couldn't capitalize on those chances to get on the board.

The Ducks took a 1-0 lead in the 1st on what was essentially a 5-on-3 advantage (Jordin Tootoo had barely left the box, to make it 5-on-4). From there, a number of special teams chances went scoreless for both teams. While Nashville did catch some momentum after a 2nd-period fight between Wade Belak and George Parros (with the early voting at HockeyFights.com giving the win to Belak), they couldn't convert the numerical shot advantage into goals.

By the time the Nashville power play had gone 0-for-6 early in the 3rd period, it felt like the team was hanging in the game by a thread - and that thread was cut with two Anaheim goals midway through the period. In a regrettable flashback to earlier blowout losses this season, the goals (just under two minutes apart) came when opponents were allowed to get wide open, close-in opportunities. On the first, Selanne cruised towards the net on a 4-on-4 to tuck home the one-timer while all eyes were focused on the puck-carrier, Saku Koivu. Not long after, Todd Marchant hit David Legwand in the corner and then streaked to a spot between the faceoff circles, taking a feed and slamming it in for an easy score.

The nail in the coffin came in the final minutes as Bobby Ryan enjoyed an easy path down through the slot as well, again accepting a pass and one-timing it for the goal.

For the Preds, there were a few encouraging signs; 40 shots on goal should normally result in some payoff, but the brutal truth is that too few of those shots came from dangerous areas. Hiller looked very beatable at multiple points in the game, but Nashville couldn't take advantage and the Anaheim defense cleared away loose pucks effectively.

The effort was certainly admirable for Nashville tonight, but the execution just wasn't there to make it pay off. From here, the road gets tougher Saturday in Los Angeles and Tuesday in San Jose.

Pekka Rinne could hardly be blamed for any of the goals against, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Dan Ellis get the next start.

As for the advanced Even Strength stats...

 Even Strength Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
 Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag  SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 Jason Arnott C 13:50 1 2 2 0 11 4 7 21 6 15
 Steve Sullivan L 14:04 0 1 2 0 12 4 8 22 5 17
 Patric Hornqvist R 14:45 7 0 1 0 13 5 8 22 7 15
 Andreas Thuresson R 11:29 4 1 0 0 11 7 4 17 7 10
 Michael Santorelli C 11:31 3 2 1 0 10 5 5 16 5 11
 Jerred Smithson R 9:48 0 0 0 0 4 3 1 6 7 -1
 David Legwand C 11:24 0 0 0 0 7 6 1 9 10 -1
 Joel Ward R 12:37 2 0 0 0 6 2 4 8 7 1
 Dave Scatchard C 10:39 2 0 0 0 11 6 5 18 7 11
 Wade Belak R 3:36 2 0 2 0 5 0 5 7 0 7
 Marcel Goc C 7:11 1 0 0 0 6 1 5 9 1 8
 Jordin Tootoo R 10:28 4 0 2 0 5 2 3 9 4 5
 Dan Hamhuis D 18:12 3 0 1 1 13 5 8 21 9 12
 Ryan Suter D 17:27 0 1 1 1 15 8 7 27 10 17
 Kevin Klein D 12:55 0 0 0 1 6 4 2 10 9 1
 Francis Bouillon D 15:32 0 0 0 1 13 7 6 19 10 9
 Cody Franson D 13:03 4 1 0 0 11 3 8 17 3 14
 Alexander Sulzer D 9:04 0 0 0 0 6 5 1 8 5 3

A most unusual night, as the Corsi numbers were quite positive (especially for Wade Belak in limited minutes). The top line looked especially good as Patric Hornqvist in particular threw everything at the net. On the other hand, David Legwand didn't even attempt a shot on goal all night.

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