It might have been easy for Nashville to overlook the Anaheim Ducks, a team with just three wins in regulation, heading into Friday’s game. After all, the Predators have a matchup against a resurgent Vegas Golden Knights squad on the road tomorrow afternoon in a quirky two-game West Coast swing.
But the Predators avoided a trap game and earned a 6-1 win over the Ducks on Friday. Filip Forsberg led the team with three points, and Juuse Saros made 26 saves on 27 shots to secure two points for Nashville. Two goals in the second period and three more in the third were more than enough to put the Predators on top and the Ducks away. Nashville’s six goals were scored by six different players.
Nashville drew first blood about eight minutes into the opening period when Colton Sissons scored his fourth goal of the season. As the puck came around the boards, Forsberg gathered it and found an open Sissons near the faceoff dot. Sissons sniped a shot past Anaheim goaltender John Gibson’s glove for the goal, his first since Dec. 1.
Anaheim quickly tied the game early in the second period. A turnover in Nashville’s defensive zone came back to hurt the Predators. Anaheim’s Sam Carrick’s shot found the back of the net through plenty of traffic in front of Saros.
Nashville regained the lead midway through the second. After the Predators won the faceoff, they quickly got the puck to the front of the net. Yakov Trenin hacked away at a rebound, and he found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season. Trenin has now scored two goals in as many games.
The Predators doubled their advantage just a few minutes later, thanks to some hard, gritty work from Forsberg. Nashville had an odd-man rush, and while Gibson made the save on the first shot, the puck still sat near the Anaheim goal. Troy Terry tried to clear it, but Forsberg got a touch on it to push it over the line.
Nashville enjoyed a dominant second period at five on five, despite giving up a goal. The Predators outscored the Ducks 2-1 in the frame, out-attempted Anaheim 28-14 and owned about 68% of the expected goals, per Natural Stat Trick. The Predators led 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The Predators cruised through the third period, and they put the final nail in the coffin with under 10 minutes to go in regulation. After some sustained pressure in the offensive zone, Cole Smith fed a pass from behind the net to Tommy Novak, who buried it for Nashville’s fourth goal of the game.
Nashville stayed hot with a Roman Josi goal on the power play late in the third period. The Predators scored on their only opportunity with the man advantage. Nino Niederreiter added another Nashville goal with just seconds left in the game to complete the 6-1 blowout.