It was another feisty night at Bridgestone Arena as no love was lost between the Ducks and Predators in Nashville’s 3-2 win.
After dominating the first period and going into the second with a 2-1 lead, the Predators had to hang on for the victory Tuesday night. In total, Nashville was outshot 40-21, which included 19 shots in the second period by Anaheim, and being outshot 11-4 in the third.
“They played hard and it definitely felt like we played most of our time in the defensive zone,” said Seth Jones on the feeling of play in the last 40 minutes. “They came hard. They have an aggressive forecheck. That was kind of the way the game went. We had to be solid defensively and we did enough to win tonight.”
Early on in the game however, visions of Saturday’s game against Winnipeg began creeping into the arena. Less than seven minutes into the game, extracurricular activities during a stoppage led to a fight between Mike Fisher and Kevin Bieksa. Following the fight, it was seen that Bieksa lost a tooth due to the bout.
“It was just one of those part of the game kind of deals,” said Mike Fisher on his fight with Bieksa. “[They] were taking liberties on some of our guys, and it was just kind of one of the spur of the moment things. It just happens.”
That’s two games in a row that the Predators have shown the opponent that they aren’t going to be pushed around, a quality that will remain important throughout the season and the playoffs.
“We have to stick together as a group,” said Fisher on the team not getting pushed around. “And we did in the Winnipeg game. It was one of those games that the score was out of reach and those are more bound to happen in those games. Anaheim is a big, physical team, and we have to play hard. We didn’t feel it was our best effort, but we found a way to win. It’s not pretty, but we’ll take it.”
Even though Nashville was outplayed in most of the second period and all of the third, it was Pekka Rinne that kept them in the game. Rinne made amazing save after amazing save to keep his team in it all evening.
“It was all him tonight,” said Fisher on Rinne. “He was unbelievable; breakaways, odd-man rushes, he bailed us out for sure. It wasn’t our prettiest game by any means.”
The team was also able to block multiple shot attempts by the Ducks. Nashville tallied 23 blocked shots with Mike Fisher and Roman Josi leading the team with four each.
“It says two things,” Peter Laviolette said with a smirk when asked about blocked shots. “One, that our guys are brave and willing to sacrifice their bodies to block shots. And it says we weren’t in the offensive zone enough, so we need to be down in the other end having the other team block shots. Our guys are always willing to put themselves in front of the puck.”
In a game where at times it didn’t feel like the Predators had the lead, they still left the ice with two points. Now currently sitting in second in the division, Nashville will embark on a five-game road trip following a five-game homestand.
“We had a lot of ups and downs,” said Jones on the homestand. “A couple games with seven goals and a couple tight ones. I think today’s the kind of game that you want to look forward. We got the win, but it’s not the way you really want to play. The two points are all that matters, and we’re looking to go on the road and continue to bring the wins.”
Post game video with Pekka Rinne:
Post game video with Peter Laviolette:
Photo credit: Christina McCullough