The Predators have now won 10 straight.
The Nashville Predators welcomed the Anaheim Ducks to Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night for the final meeting between the two clubs this season. The Ducks were looking to avoid the season sweep from the Predators while the Preds were looking to continue to be that poor matchup for the Ducks dating back to last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Preds were the ones that came out on top Thursday night sealing the 3-0-0 season sweep over Anaheim with a 4-2 win. The win marked Nashville’s 10th straight victory with its last loss coming back on February 17 against Detroit.
“It’s awesome. Everything’s great about this streak,” Ryan Johansen said following the win. “We’re focusing on the process and doing what we need to do to be ready come playoff time, so we’re just taking it day by day and looking at our team game and what we always can be improving on.”
Viktor Arvidsson and Johansen each picked up a goal and an assist in the win while Filip Forsberg also registered two points with two assists on the night.
How It Went Down
The first period was all Nashville. The Predators controlled the puck and held the Ducks in their own zone for the majority of the frame; Nashville had the step on Anaheim from the opening puck drop.
Craig Smith got the scoring going as he sent a wrist shot off of the crossbar and in 5:26 into the contest after receiving a strong pass from Kyle Turris. The Preds kept the pressure on following the opening goal and were able to double up their lead courtesy of Johansen tipping home a backhanded pass from Forsberg with 4:50 left in the first period.
“This is a real special game for him, we all know the history that’s been going on,” Forsberg said about Johansen and the matchup against the Ducks. “He just keeps showing everyone how good he is.”
— FOX Sports Tennessee (@PredsOnFSTN) March 9, 2018
The Preds managed 20 total shot attempts during five-on-five play in the opening period compared to just 12 from the Ducks. Overall, Nashville out shot Anaheim 11-7.
Both teams settled in a bit during the second period in the sense that there wasn’t too much action when it came to high-danger chances and back-and-forth action.
The Ducks were awarded the lone power play of the second frame 18:14 into the period, but it was the Predators who capitalized during the opportunity. Ryan Ellis led Colton Sissons with an impressive lead pass creating a breakaway chance and Austin Watson was there to clean up the rebound for what was his 11th goal and third shorthanded tally of the year.
Nashville created seven scoring chances during five-on-five action in the second period while Anaheim managed only four.
The Predators again looked like the team on the front foot to begin the third period. Arvidsson sent a shot off of the post, but just seconds later the Ducks skated down the ice to cut the Nashville lead to 3-1. Corey Perry slipped a pass to a wide-open Rickard Rakell who buried the one-timer into what was virtually an empty net.
Following the Rakell tally, the momentum swung in Anaheim’s favor. The Preds seemingly couldn’t get anything going as the Ducks controlled the majority of possession.
Anaheim cut the Predators’ lead to 3-2 with just under four minutes remaining in regulation with Rakell lighting the lamp yet again for his 30th goal of the season.
The Predators didn’t sit back and hold onto the one-goal lead, instead they retook their two-goal advantage 1:39 after the Rakell goal. Forsberg led a two-on-one rush with Arvidsson streaking down the opposite wall and Arvidsson was able to bury his 25th goal of the year.
Pekka Rinne is 18-2-1 with a 2.03 GAA, .934 SV% and four shutouts during the 2018 portion of the Predators' schedule.
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) March 9, 2018
Pekka Rinne put in another strong performance between the pipes for his 37th win of the season and eighth straight win overall. He stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced to improve to 18-2-1 in 2018.
When it was all said and done, the Ducks out shot the Predators 33-28, but Nashville got the best of Anaheim in the total scoring chances department 26-22.
Kevin Fiala was the noticeable healthy scratch for the Predators on Thursday night as they continue to rotate and rest some of their top forwards down the final stretch of the regular season. Roman Josi was absent as well as he continues to be listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The Predators welcome the New Jersey Devils to town Saturday night with things set to get underway at 7:00 p.m. CST.