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Nashville Predators 4, Anaheim Ducks 2: Not Perfect, But It’s 10 (in a row)

It wasn’t a typical Preds-Ducks game for a while, but the dislike remains - as does the winning streak.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville’s downtown traffic might have been brutal, but it didn’t keep a raucous Thursday night crowd from showing up to witness a potential playoff preview with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Predators’ recorded their 10th straight win with a 4-2 decision, a victory that extended Nashville’s franchise-record winning streak and finished a regular-season sweep against Anaheim.

A pregame ceremony honoring Predators general manager David Poile on breaking the NHL record for wins by a GM delayed the start by some 15 minutes, but once it did, things ramped up in a hurry between two old foes.

Craig Smith’s 21st goal of the season opened the scoring 5:26 in with a snipe over John Gibson’s left shoulder after shaking off Kevin Bieksa and floating to the high slot to release the laser.

Filip Forsberg provided the backhand for Ryan Johansen to tip in to push Nashville’s lead to 2-0 with 4:50 to play in the first.

Austin Watson followed up a Colton Sissons shorthanded chance to put the Preds up 3-0 after two periods.

Immediately after that goal, Johansen and Ryan Kesler dropped the gloves for a long-awaited fight that went shorter that it should have.

Rickard Rakell ended Pekka Rinne’s bid for his eighth shutout of the season at the 6:04 mark of the third period, seconds after Viktor Arvidsson hit the post at the other end.

The third period was far from other third periods that have occurred during the streak, as the Ducks made a big push.

Rakell added his second of the night with 3:25 to play, but Arvidsson answered it to give the crowd Frosties and put the game back out of reach.

Random Observations

  • Josi out fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. Hopefully his participation in the morning skate means he’s close to a return.
  • Special ceremony honoring David Poile’s record-breaking victory for wins as a general manager. Josi, former Capitals captain Rod Langway, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Preds chairman Tom Cigarran presented him with some nice stuff.
  • The delayed start is just like a Friday night playoff game on CNBC, or something like that.
  • Great move to the net by Yber?!! Alas, John Gibson wasn’t having it.
  • Damn, Smitty. What a laser beam over Gibson’s shoulder.
  • Rickard Rakell tried to square up and buzz one past Rinne, but a nice block by Subban in a 1-on-1 spot quashed that quickly.
  • Kesler wants to start something with Mattias Ekholm. You sure you wanna do that, dude?
  • Austin Watson had a whole half of the net to shoot at and somehow missed.
  • It took 17:24 for the first penalty to be called on a night where Tim Peel is one of the referees. You would have taken the under.
  • Cogliano with a big shorthanded chance that Pekka kept on quite nicely.
  • Some sustained zone time for the Ducks and then a really bad giveaway right to Rakell...Rinne cleans up the mess.
  • Thirty minutes of hockey, one penalty. Wait, this is Preds-Ducks, right?
  • The scoring chances have calmed down, too, but Joey gave Arvy a pretty good one late in the second.
  • And of course, it’s Tim Peel announcing the Preds’ first penalty - with 1:46 to go in the second period.
  • Austin Watson: Shorthanded Goal-Scoring Extraordinaire.
  • Joey gave no effs about the next face-off, he wanted a piece of Kesler. And boy, he got it, too. Kesler takes that one, but this thing might not be over by a long shot.
  • Dang, Arvy. Thought you had one there.
  • So much for the shutout. Blame it on the post.
  • This third period has been one of the weaker ones we’ve seen in a while. We’ve been spoiled, actually.
  • It just can’t be easy against the Ducks, can it?

Super Duper Three Stars of the Game

  1. Smith. Watching him come alive this season has been pretty satisfying.
  2. Watson. Shorthanded wizard.
  3. Arvy. That Frosty goal was an angry one to ice things.

Postgame Reaction

Johansen on his Gordie Howe hat trick:

“I don’t know if Gordie would be too proud of that fight, but it’s important that we got the win and that feels good.”

On the fight with Kesler:

“He was asking me to fight for two straight periods, so it’s time to stand up for me and not back down from him.

On if he stepped on a stick during the fight:

“Is that what it was? I hope so. We’ll go 1-0, Kesler.”

Forsberg on what impressed him the most about the winning streak:

“I think it’s just the work ethic. I think we’re working hard. It doesn’t matter if we’re down or up, we just keep working hard to keep staying with it.”

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras