Nashville Predators 5, Anaheim Ducks 4 (OT): Novak corrects late collapse

The Preds won in overtime despite blowing a two-goal lead with under three minutes remaining in regulation.

The Nashville Predators took on the Anaheim Ducks tonight in a game that finally wasn’t unbearably late despite being on the West Coast.

The Preds got out to a decent start, despite an early penalty kill. Michael McCarron was called for interference, but the Preds were able to kill that off. When the Ducks then took a too-many-men penalty, despite a premature whistle on the delayed penalty, Phil Tomasino was able to score to give the Preds the lead at 9:01.

After that, Nashville seemed to start getting the game under control. Some diligent play let them generate sustained pressure, which eventually led to a Tommy Novak goal at 13:40 to make it 2-0 Preds. However, just two minutes later, Mason McTavish took advantage of a turnover to put the Ducks on the board.

Play stalled out for much of the rest of the period, before picking up at the start of the second. Anaheim and Nashville traded off lively possession sequences before Frank Vatrano scored on a shot that went in and out of the net before the refs even noticed, initially, to tie the game 2-2.

With around eleven minutes to go in the second, Colton Sissons took the blade of Nate Beaulieu’s stick to the face, under the visor, and headed straight down the tunnel, dropping his equipment as he left. No penalty was called—presumably because it was considered a follow-through on a shot—but a fracas broke out on the ice, right before a cut to commercial. (Sissons did return later in the game, which was good to see.)

Mark Jankowski almost managed to restore the Preds’ lead, but the Ducks’ defense prevented him from getting to a massive rebound John Gibson gave up on a Dante Fabbro shot. As the period wore on, the Preds started to look tired, and the Ducks were able to start pushing back again. A fight between Jeremy Lauzon and Max Jones  at 16:20 took Jones off the ice, and the period ended still tied 2-2.

Kiefer Sherwood scored on a pinballing shot at 1:47 of the third to restore the Preds’ lead. Jakob Silfverberg beat Saros but hit a post shortly after that, and Saros had to make some sharp saves as the Ducks continued to push. He was rewarded for his efforts, as were the Preds skaters after a grinding shift, when Yakov Trenin got the 4-2 goal at 13:36.

With a little over two and a half minutes remaining, Gibson got pulled for the extra attacker, and Troy Terry promptly scored through traffic to make it 4-3 at 17:39. The Ducks continued to attack, and MacTavish scored his second of the night with :26 remaining to tie the game.

Overtime was a lively sequence of breakaways and odd-man rushes for both teams, Gibson and Saros both making some dramatic saves, before Tommy Novak scored to win it 1:12 in.