Coach Barry Trotz Post game comments
Jason Arnott, Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne post game comments
Coach Randy Carlyle, Kyle Chipchura, and Jonas Hiller post game comments
The Nashville Predators came out firing on Saturday Night at the Sommet Center and beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1.
Jason Arnott had the game winning goal and two assists and Shea Weber had a goal and an assist. David Legwand added an empty net goal with one second left to ice the victory. Mike Brown scored the lone goal for Anaheim.
The Predators came out firing all cylinders and were out shooting the ducks 10-1 6:49 in to the game. However, the Ducks were first on the scoreboard with their third shot at the 7:45 mark when Pekka Rinne tried to cover the puck in the blue ice and it got away from him. Mike Brown tipped it across the line for a goal to put the Ducks up 1-0.
The first period ended with the Preds out shooting the Ducks 15-7 with a wider 27-13 gap in the Corsi numbers.
The second period continued with the same dominating force by the Predators. The Preds had numerous scoring chances but could not find the net. An uncomfortable feeling was growing in the crowd that the Predators were somewhat snake bit and that the Ducks could steal a game where they were seriously outplayed.
Shea Weber finally broke through on a one timer from the blue line at 15:27 on a pass from Jason Arnott. Patric Hornqvist received the secondary assist and played a big part on the goal as he was screening Hiller as the play developed.
The second period ended tied 1-1. The Predators out shot the Ducks 17-10 in the period. Shea Weber had five shots in the second period to bring his two period total to ten.
Anaheim came out to start the third period playing their best hockey of the evening. They out shot the Preds 9-4 in the final period and were playing much tighter defense.
Jason Arnott connected at 10:11 to put the Predators in the lead for the first time in the game. He received a sharp feed from Shea Weber and fired the shot past Hiller who was again distracted by Patric Hornqvist.
Play was fast and furious for the final ten minutes with few stoppages. The Predators had the puck in the Anaheim zone with 38 seconds left and the Preds missed two shots at the net. Finally, after the Ducks had made another charge, David Legwand got control of the puck and skated past the center red line and placed it in the unattended Ducks net with less than a second left to end the game.
The game was a fast moving contest with plenty of clean physical play. Each team received two minor penalties but neither side converted on the man advantage.
Both goalies were excellent in net. Jonas Hiller's outstanding play was the only thing that kept Anaheim in the game as he stopped 33 of 35 Predator shots. Other than Pekka Rinne's miscue on the Anaheim goal, he was perfect on the other 25 saves.
Storylines from the Game
The Best Players were the Best Players...
Jason Arnott scored his first goal in ten games which was a relief for the Captain. "It was almost beginning to be a little joke in here," Arnott said laughingly. "Everyone was laughing at me. It just wasn't going in the net. It wasn't going in and then it did. It was a relief."
Barry Trotz was also pleased with Arnott's performance, "The last couple games he’s had some great chances. Sometimes it can get a bit frustrated. The last couple of nights he’s had some great chances, but the puck’s been jumping, hitting him in the skates, getting into the 'Bermuda Triangle,' as a player would call it, and really locking him up."
Shea Weber had also gone 18 games without a goal and finally connected. "There were just a couple of great passes and I just kept trying to get the puck to the net. Hornqvist was there and I just got lucky to get one in there."
Confident, Disciplined Play...
For the third game in a row, the Predators fell behind early in the game and continued to stick with their game plan until things started going their way. They also did a good job of keeping the Duck's fourth ranked power play unit off the ice, committing only two minor penalties.
"We showed a lot of confidence, even though we aren’t scoring as much. We just have to keep going and keep shooting the puck," stated Pekka Rinne.
Jason Arnott also commented on the Preds inability to get the puck past Jonas Hiller, "Hiller played an amazing game. He stood his ground and we kept going the way we were going and hopefully it was going to go in for us and it did. We could have had a lot more."
"We’re pretty resilient and we’ve got pretty good poise," said Barry Trotz. "We had some chances, but Hiller was able to find the handle on them. It took a little bit of energy out of our team but we got going again in the second and third."
Olympic Stress Unleashed...
Barry Trotz talked positively about the Predators representation on the Olympic team. He was pleased that the teams had been named and the focus was back on the games at hand.
Trotz was especially pleased with the relief that Shea Weber has felt. "Shea was playing injured for a long time, for about six weeks and it affected his play," Trotz explained. "He really wanted to be on the Olympic team and you can see the weight is off his shoulders. He’s got so much jump. Everything is firm and crisp and clear. He’s back to what we’re used to."
Trotz also wasn't worried about the Olympic break and the players going their own ways. "We have such a good core of people, and when I talk about core I mean not just the leadership group but the 26 guys that have played most nights for us. They've all gone through different things in their careers. They get along great. I think they are actually going to miss each other and they are going to come back and be determined and focused."
"It will be exiting. I think the last third of the season, after the Olympic break is going to be fantastic hockey," Trotz related. "You are going to ride a high and a low. Some nights you be as high as anything and then just as low after that. Every game is going to mean so much every night."
"Curse" of the Third Jersey Broken...
Jason Arnott put any thoughts of a "curse" of the third jersey to rest after the game. "I didn't really notice, I really enjoy wearing them, I like the colors," Arnott explained. "I don't really pay attention to that kind of stuff. they look good and as long as we look good and feel good in them, hopefully they will work for us."
The Predators will get Sunday off and then play Calgary on Tuesday and Carolina on Thursday before playing the Ducks again next Saturday to close out the home stand.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass