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Nashville Predators 5, Anaheim Ducks 1: Nashville Steamrolls the Ducks

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This was as convincing a win as you are likely to see.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators are fully entrenched in the toughest part of their schedule to date. They were able to hand the Lightning a shootout loss, but Anaheim is a mystery burrito with extra guac enigma. That costs extra. After finally picking up their first win of the season the Ducks promptly got to work waiting three days for their next game.

So the Preds took on a fresh and desperate team that has Stanley Cup aspirations this season. How'd it go?

The first period wasn't boring, but it also wasn't that exciting. It didn't matter because Eric Nystrom slid a puck past Anton Khudobin thanks to Austin Watson being incredible. Ryan Ellis and his swollen knee scored on the power play to give the Preds a two goal lead. Ribeiro finally got on the board with a nice slap shot that pierced the Ducks' netminder, and Mattias Ekholm gave the home crowd another frosty with a power play goal. They both made Bruce Boudreau's seat a little hotter.

Colin Wilson ended the game with a statement goal, just to show dominance. The Ducks went home suffering an absolute beat down from the Preds. It was as close to a perfect game as you can get. Goals from the guys you need to score, (as well as the guys that you don't expect), the defense stepped up, the goalie was great. It's exactly what Nashville was expected to do this year. Savor it.

Random Observations

  • Nystrom made a gorgeous pass that set up a scoring chance, then followed it up with another scoring chance. That moment belongs in a museum.
  • Do you ever have a moment at work where you get a huge boost thanks to the hard work of a coworker? Nystrom had a similar moment. Watson took a chip from Mattias Ekholm, fought off a Duck and set up Nystrom for his second of the game. It looked for a second that Khudobin was going to stop it, but it squeaked through for a goal. Credit Nystrom for making the most of an opportunity, but that play was packaged and delivered by Watson, with a nice little stamp from Ekholm.
  • Holding Ellis out of the lineup until was a great decision. It's early in the season, and it's better to be err on the side of caution when it comes to a player with injury history. Especially when the injury looked like it could have been pretty bad. Well, he seemed A-OK tonight, notching his 1st goal of the season with a one timer on the power play. Houston, we have lift off.
  • Earlier today Kris called out Mike Ribeiro, saying he needed to find a way to get in the goal column. We may need to call him out more often. The Preds set up shop in the Ducks' zone after an icing was called off, and Ribs took turns trying to set up his teammates before finally calling his own number. More of that, please.
  • Circling back to Austin Watson, MAN that kid has been good tonight. Hard on the puck, hitting the crap out of everything that moves, (looking at you, Ryan Getlzaf) and just being an all-around tenacious hockey player. That's exactly what was expected of him this year, and he's delivering. It sucks that the choice has been between him and Victor Arvidsson, especially because they both present vastly different skill sets. Ideally, there should be a game in the not-so-distant future where they are both dressed. They've each made their case after their most recent games.
  • Does Cody Hodgson still play for Nashville?
  • Ekholm tightened the noose around Bruce Boudreau's neck. It really would be a mistake to let him go, but you can't help but think that Bob Murray may be thinking the team needs a shake up right now. Anaheim should be able to figure it out, but they are digging themselves into a hole that's going to be tougher and tougher to get out of.
  • We haven't mentioned Pekka Rinne a whole lot, and that's mostly because he didn't really have to work too hard. Not that it isn't impressive to allow only one goal on 28 shots, but it never felt that Rinne was the one keeping his team in the game. His team was doing that for him. :nods approvingly:
  • It was great to see that Nashville, for the most part, didn't sit back on the lead they built. This was the first game when any type of score effect would be in play, but the Preds didn't sit back. Complacency leads to being out shot. Being out shot leads to getting scored on. Getting scored on leads to the Dark Side. Something like that.
  • Colin Wilson scored a bonus goal because he wanted to shut you up. The 33 Train put together a three-point night for himself. The jalapeño habeñero watch is on.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Austin Watson - I'll fanboy out right now. Kid had an amazing game.
  • Pekka Rinne - He would've had a shutout if someone didn't say the "S" word.
  • The Ellis/Ekholm Pairing - Both has a goal and an assist, and it was good to have them back. Please no more Bitetto/Bartley.

Was the Smashville App Correct?

Nah. Tom only changes it once a week, which really limits his chances, in my opinion. Fisher didn't score, but who cares? Everyone else did. Smashville App falls to 1/7.

Tweets of the Game

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary - War-on-Ice - HockeyStats - Natural Stat Trick

Roll the video highlights...