Pekka Rinne stopped 25 shots while Jason Arnott notched a goal and 2 assists to lead the Nashville Predators past the Anaheim Ducks in front of a near-sellout crowd (16,654) at the Sommet Center tonight. It could have been a blowout if not for the standout performance of Jonas Hiller in the Anaheim net.
Click the picture above for the photo gallery, then follow after the jump for video highlights, a few thoughts, and the advanced even-strength statistics...
The Predators dominated this contest through the first two periods, outshooting Anaheim 32-17, but trailed through most of it after Anaheim winger Mike Brown scored on a bit of a broken play in the first period. Rinne tried to freeze the puck but couldn't quite reach it, and Brown, sliding along the ice, was able to sweep it into the goal.
Despite that frustration, however, the Preds played a very disciplined game, continuing to fire pucks on net, and successfully killing off the only two penalties they took on the night. While the Ducks started to put on some good pressure in the third, Jason Arnott scored midway through to put Nashville ahead, his first goal since December 10 vs. Columbus.
What followed from there was classic shutdown hockey by the Preds; they clogged up the neutral zone, and took every opportunity to get the puck in deep on Anaheim, changing players out frequently and keeping the pressure on. David Legwand added an empty-netter in the final second of the game to seal the 3-1 win.
This was a classic Nashville Predators victory, much like Thursday's over Columbus. This team is hitting its stride at an important time during the season - the playoff teams in the West are all playing well right now, and points are needed from every game possible in order to keep pace with the leaders. After having dropped three straight to Vancouver and Chicago, the Preds have turned things around with a three-game winning streak and are now 9-3-1 in their last 13.
During the coming week, the Preds will face Calgary at home Tuesday, followed by a visit by the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, and a return date with Anaheim on Saturday.
For discounted tickets to any Nashville Predators home game, you can follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".
Looking at the advanced even-strength stats, what jumps out are just remarkable nights by Jason Arnott, Steve Sullivan, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter in terms of putting pucks on net; both the Shots On Goal For and Total Shots For numbers were truly excellent.
|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|
|J P Dumont||R||15:19||1||0||1||1||13||7||6||20||14||6|
Who is your Predator of the Game?
Jason Arnott, GW goal, 2 assists (36 votes)
Pekka Rinne, 25 saves (5 votes)
Shea Weber, 1 goal & 1 assist, 10 shots (44 votes)
85 total votes