By Michael Walters
The Ducks came out stronger in this game. After killing off back-to-back penalties by Corey Perry, Anaheim would get on the board first on a breakaway goal by Andrew Cogliano. The Ducks would get a power play, but failed to score. The first period looked good for Anaheim until Mattias Ekholm scored with just under a minute left to tie the game at one. Shots favored Anaheim 13-12.
There was plenty of animosity in this period as the Predators and the NHL officials frustrated the Ducks. The Ducks killed off an early penalty on Ryan Garbutt, but then Craig Smith scored to give Nashville a 2-1 lead. Later in the period David Perron was called for interference and Shea Weber scored on the power play to give Nashville 3-1 lead at the end of two periods. Shots favored Anaheim in the period 11 to nine.
In the final frame the Predators defense went to work shutting down any attack Anaheim could mount. Nate Thompson did score with just under three minutes to go to pull Anaheim within one. The Ducks pulled Gibson and tried to tie the game, but couldn’t get it done.
Key Moment of the Game
Shea Weber‘s goal. It made the Nashville lead two goals and they tightened things down defensively in the third period from that point on.
Key Stat of the Game
21 turnovers by Anaheim. Again like in game one, the Ducks turned the puck over too much and couldn’t connect on many passes.
The Ducks came out and played with more intensity in this game. Anaheim played well in the first period until Nashville tied the game in the final moments. In the second period, Nashville frustrated the Ducks. There were also some calls that didn’t go the Ducks way, but the Ducks didn’t respond with their play. They ended up giving up two more goals and taking unnecessary penalties. From that point on Nashville was in shutdown mode and a late goal gave the Ducks some hope, but it wasn’t enough.
Bruce Boudreau has some thinking to do with his lineup for a must win game three. He has gone with the same offensive lineup for both games and may need to consider changing personnel. Shawn Horcoff and Mike Santorelli have been healthy scratches who he could turn to. On defense Kevin Bieksa came in and added some physical play, but the Ducks defense hasn’t played their best. Korbinian Holzer and Clayton Stoner, if healthy, could come in as well. In net Frederik Andersen may get the next start. Regardless where the changes are made, something needs to be adjusted or the Ducks will be experiencing an early summer.
The Ducks travel to Nashville for game two on Tuesday. Game starts at 6:30PM PT.