Welcome from Anaheim, where the mostly intact Nashville Predators play the Ducks tonight in a late, late game. The Ducks were missing several players that were traded today, and Nashville would debut new trade acquisition Jeremy Lauzon, on the second pair with Carrier.
Getting started proved to be a challenge for Nashville. Anaheim would get 8 shot attempts to Nashville’s 3 before Mark Borowiecki would be called for slashing. Nashville continued their strong special teams performance with a good kill, but Anaheim just kept piling on. After a fight between Tanner Jeannot and Carrick, Anaheim continued to apply the heat before Derek Grant would break the scoreless period and give Anaheim the lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the period. Ducks lead 1-0.
That would be the spark that gave Nashville life, as the offense finally seemed to catch up, building momentum with several extended offensive possessions and chances. With just under 4 minutes remaining, the captain Roman Josi would pick up a goal, extending his now-12 game point streak and tying the game 1-1.
Nashville would continue to apply pressure to close out the period, getting a few more chances, but the teams headed to the locker rooms tied 1-1. Even though Nashville picked up the pace late and tied the game, Anaheim appeared to be the better team for the first, so we’ll see if Nashville comes out strong in the second.
The Predators, thankfully, would pick up where they left off with a strong opening few minutes, eventually drawing a double minor by Comtois just 2:49 into the period. 13 seconds later Granlund passed to Forsberg who directed towards Johansen, who scored the go-ahead goal, putting the Predators up 2-1.
Nashville rode the momentum for a couple of minutes after the goal, but Anaheim slowly built steam until Kevin Shattenkirk and Trevor Zegras found Troy Terry for the game-tying goal midway through the period, 2-2.
Anaheim would continue getting consistent pressure similar to how they opened the game, and despite Borowiecki getting called for roughing and interference, Nashville would kill the penalty once again. The Ducks still threatened the rest of the period, but Nashville was able to get to the locker room with a tie game once again, this time 2-2.
The Predators got started early in the third period, with Jeannot getting the first shot on goal of the third. Nashville kept the attack coming in the first two minutes of the period, and would be capped off with a great effort by Filip Forsberg. He was unable to get a shot on net 1 on 1 after a turnover, but Nashville was able to retain possession, and Forsberg would beat Gibson cleanly the second time, giving the Preds the lead again 3-2, and tying Viktor Arvidsson’s single-season record of 34.
Not to be outdone, Forsberg would be at it again, less than two minutes later. After the Ducks got called for high-sticking Dante Fabbro, Forsberg would connect with a streaking Matt Duchene who pulled off a between-the-legs shot that looked eerily similar to Forsberg’s last week. Either way, the Predators padded their lead to two, up 4-2 after Duchene’s power play goal.
The momentum would come to a halt pretty quickly, however, first with a Granlund penalty, and then a strange situation midway through the period. Saros was struggling with his equipment, but no stoppage occurred until Nashville had already gotten called for a penalty on Lauzon. Saros would eventually get back in the game for the penalty kill, but Derek Grant was relentless in the high-danger areas, finally beating an outstretched Saros on the 2nd rebound attempt, and Anaheim cut the lead to 1 with 9:47 left, 3-4.
Soon after the Ducks goal, however, Nashville would go back to the power play after a penalty by Mayhew at 8:59. And because both teams apparently agreed to exchange goals, the power play didn’t last long. Just twenty seconds in, Josi would pass from the right point to Forsberg at the top of the left circle. The Ducks defenders shifted, expecting a Forsberg shot, but he’d hit Duchene perfectly in the right circle who would pick up his second goal of the game, and also tying the single-season goal record with his 34th of the year.
After that, the writing was on the wall - Anaheim would try to get the offense going to score two goals and tie the game, but couldn’t threaten Saros. In fact, Nashville had several high-danger chances against Anaheim despite that. Once Anaheim pulled Gibson around the two minute mark, the Predators would seal it for good, with an insane effort by - you guessed it - Filip Forsberg to beat the defender and score on the empty net, setting the single-season goals record with his 35th to make it 6-3.
HOWEVER THE GAME WASN’T OVER YET - as Borowiecki would drop the gloves before the game finally, mercifully, came to an end at 11:42 pm Central time. The Predators beat Anaheim 6-3 after a 5 point game (2G/3A) from Filip Forsberg.
Three Stars of the Night
3rd star: Derek Grant (2G)
2nd star: Filip Forsberg (2G/3A)
1st star: Matt Duchene (2G/1A)
Note from the author - usually the three stars are voted by media members at the game, and usually must be submitted late in the 3rd period, so maybe they turned it in before Forsberg’s late goal?