(Photo by: John Russel/Getty Images)
The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Nashville Predators, 3-2 in a shootout for the second time in as many meetings. Ducks’ goaltender Viktor Fasth came up big in the shootout, stopping two of three attempts. Fasth also turned away 32 shots that came his way. Also, the Ducks ended their road trip on a high note, going 5-1-0. “It’s another big win for us, we get to head home,” said goal scorer Matt Beleskey, “and it was a good road trip.”
For the Predators, this was a tough loss. Many will blame the referees for the non-call on Sheldon Souray with 2:12 remaining in regulation, but it wasn’t that in the end. Nashville was unable to capitalize on five power play chances throughout the game. “If there were any negatives of the game, it was our power play,” said head coach Barry Trotz.
After a tough loss like Saturday night, it is time to look on the bright side, which is the Preds were able to earn a much needed point.
In a first period that was all Nashville, who were able to outshoot Anaheim 14-6, the Predators were unable to head into the intermission with a lead. The Preds were able to strike first with a goal by David Legwand at 13:31, immediately after Sheldon Souray returned to the ice after a high sticking penalty. Jonathon Blum’s shot from the point left a rebound for Legwand, who was able to get the puck past Viktor Fasth’s five-hole.
After the Predators went on another power play, the Ducks were able to swing momentum their way with a goal to tie the game up. Matt Beleskey scored off of a feed from Corey Perry behind the net. “We needed to watch out behind the net. They love that behind the net play,” said Nashville defenseman Kevin Klein. Beleskey was untouched breaking into the slot and was able to get the puck over a sprawling Pekka Rinne.
The goal gave spark to Anaheim as they were able put more pressure on the Nashville goaltender before the period ended.
7:01 in the second period, Hal Gill was sent to the penalty box for clearing the puck out of play to give the Ducks a 5 on 3 for 1:54. The first penalty was by Rinne, who played the puck outside of the trapezoid. Fortunately for Nashville, they were able to kill off the two man disadvantage. “I thought our guys did a great job,” said assistant coach Lane Lambert. “Paul Gaustad blocked a few shots, Scott Hannan and Kevin Klein did well reading plays.”
That huge penalty kill gave the Predators momentum as thirty seconds after they were both killed, captain Shea Weber scored his first goal of the season. Weber’s wrist shot from the top of the left circle to Fasth, went past the Anaheim goaltender to give Nashville a temporary lead, once again.
Later in the second, rookie Patrick Maroon scored his first career NHL goal. A defensive lapse by the Predators allowed Maroon to stand alone in front of Rinne, who was able to deflect a shot past the goaltender.
The third period ended with both teams still tied at two apiece. There were plenty of chances to score, included a post shot for each team from Weber and Bryan Allen.
In an overtime that forced every fan to either stand or sit on the edge of their seat, no one was able to score. The game went to another shootout, the second in two meetings between these clubs this year.
With the first shot of the shootout, Nick Bonino scored blocker side to give Anaheim a 1-0 shootout lead. In the second round, Craig Smith came in fast on Fasth, then stopped, deked and scored on the backhand. Perry was able to deke around Rinne in the third round to force the Preds to score, or lose. Nashville chose the latter as Gabriel Bourque lost the puck coming in on net.
The Ducks were able to defeat the Preds, 3-2 in a shootout.
Line Up Report
#35 Pekka Rinne
#30 Viktor Fasth
Predators Scratches: #18 W Brandon Yip (conditioning assignment) and #23 W Brian McGrattan
Ducks Scratches: #2 D Nate Guenin, #25 W Brad Staubitz and #43 G Jeff Deslauriers
Controversial Goal: Shea Weber’s first goal of the season comes with a little controversy. Prior to the play entering the Anaheim defensive zone, the puck hit off Matt Beleskey’s stick, which was on the bench, and entered back into play. The Anaheim forward was yelling at the referee to blow his whistle for the puck leaving play, but the ref turned his back to him.
Following the incident, the puck went into the Ducks’ defensive zone and after cycling the puck, the Predators were able take a 2-1 lead 9:31 in, thanks to Weber.
A “Fasth” Start: Anaheim goaltender Viktor Fasth is now 8-0-0 in his starts. Fasth, who is a 30 year old rookie, is proving the doubters that he is a legitimate goaltender in the NHL. Coming out of Swedish Elite League, he was meant to push Jonas Hiller to play his best hockey. Instead, it appears Fasth is taking over the starting role in Anaheim. His teammates are supporting him in the locker room as well, which is a good sign. “He is playing great. He is pne of the most focused guys in the room,” said Beleskey on Fasth.
Fasth played well Saturday night, correcting some of the mistakes people have found in his play. The five-hole, a critical flaw in his game, was corrected late in the game. Predators’ forward David Legwand said when looking at film before the game, he saw it open a lot. Legwand attempted to shoot there in the shootout, but Fasth was able to close his five-hole up.
At the end of the game, Fasth faced 34 shots, stopping 32 and earned the official second star of the game.
Goals and Assists
1-0 NSH: David Legwand – Blum and Wilson at 13:31 in the 1st
1-1 ANA: Matt Beleskey – Perry and Allen at 17:25 in the 1st
2-1 NSH: Shea Weber – Josi and Kostitsyn at 9:31 in the 2nd
2-2 ANA: Pat Maroon – Palmieri and Beauchemin at 16:08 in the 2nd
My Three Stars of the Game
1. Viktor Fasth: 32 Saves, Win
2. Patrick Maroon: 1st Career NHL Goal
3. Shea Weber: 1st Goal of the Year