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Predators burned by Ducks’ top talent in disastrous second period


Jan 9, 2014


An early two-goal lead by the Nashville Predators and a dominating first period performance should have given them enough momentum to carry that through the remainder of the game. However, for a team that has now won 15 of their past 16 games, the Anaheim Ducks find ways to get back into games. Four second period goals, two by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, another by forward Corey Perry, and the game-winner from Teemu Selanne, handed the Predators a disappointing loss after seeing leads of 2-0 and 3-2 wiped away.

“Their best guys are their best guys, at the end of the day you look at the score sheet, and it’s Getzlaf, Getzlaf, Perry, [and] Selanne. I thought we played a pretty solid game, but just mismanaged three or four shifts in the Getzlaf, Perry line,” said Predators head coach Barry Trotz.

The Predators had one of their best starts to a game this season, collecting goals from forwards Paul Gaustad and Craig Smith 30 seconds apart to give Nashville a two-goal lead only 2:22 into the period. While Nashville couldn’t increase their lead throughout the remainder of the period, Anaheim took advantage of an early jump at the beginning of the second period to put the Predators on their heels.

“The one thing about our group is that we’ve been there, so we never come in here thinking we’re out of any hockey game. Obviously, the goal is to not have to do that, but like I said we never had the doubt in our mind that we can’t win a hockey game, we just know we’ve got to go out and play,” said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. “I knew we had to be better, that was the main goal, obviously. That first period again, that’s something we’ve got to figure out as a team and play better in that first 10 minutes. I thought our guys did a great job in that second half of that first period turning the momentum a little bit and obviously, we came out on fire in the second. I knew we needed to get at least one for our group, that’s what we try to do every night and tonight we got a couple.”

Nashville is no stranger to the game-changing effects of Anaheim’s playmaking forwards. While Getzlaf’s two goals stunned the Predators, Perry’s wrist shot from the right faceoff dot seemed to catch Nashville off-guard as they attempted to transition out of their own zone.

“They were trying to get off a little bit. That’s why that puck had to go deep. They had us in their end a little bit, and we were trying to get a change there. We moved it up to the forwards, and they mismanaged up at the blue line. Transition the other way was a quick up,” said Trotz. “Your defense is thinking that the puck is going in and you start going this way and realize it’s not going that way. You look like you’re flat footed because of something that happened 85 feet in front of you.”

Selanne’s game-winner with 1:08 remaining in the second period would cap off one of Nashville’s most disastrous period of the season. The Predators aren’t a stranger to bad periods this year, already having multiple teams unload three goals or more in a period. What’s more discouraging for Nashville is this is their first regulation loss when leading after the first period and when scoring three or more goals in a game.

The Predators have consistently been able to hold leads when their offense is finding the back of the net. When exploited by the NHL’s top team, though, Nashville can’t do anything more than pick up the pieces and look towards their next game.

“We did it to ourselves. We were turning over too many pucks, and like I said before they are a skilled team. They can turn transition pucks into goals and they were able to do that tonight,” said Predators defenseman Shea Weber. “We’ve got back to back games here and we have to get some points, the same as we do every night. We try to get points and climb the ladder and we have to get back to work.”

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Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua