The NHL’s top offense was at it again.
Six different Predators found the back of the net – and Pekka Rinne made 26 saves – as Nashville defeated the Anaheim Ducks by a 6-1 final on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result snaps Nashville’s two-game winless skid and gives them their seventh-straight victory over the Ducks on home ice.
Long before Tuesday’s contest was in the books, the Preds already had their best offensive start in franchise history. Another five-plus goal outing, already their fifth of the season in just nine games, helped to give them their fifth win as well.
“Great win, especially at home,” Rinne said. “We were smart and we generated enough chances to score goals, and tonight was that type of game. We didn’t give that many looks, but we got enough goals. You take them anyway you can get them.”
“It was nice to play with a lead; we haven’t been able to do that much this year,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “Just to get on the board and just to chip away and score some goals and go out in the third and get that opportunity to play with the lead, I thought that was a really good job by our guys from start to finish offensively to go out and be able to produce.”
The Ducks got themselves into penalty trouble early in the game, and Preds Captain Roman Josi took advantage on a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity when he snapped home his fourth of the season for a 1-0 lead. Colton Sissons put his club up by two when he stepped right out of the penalty box, walked into the Anaheim zone and went top corner on John Gibson for a satisfying strike.
Rocco Grimaldi only waited 35 seconds into the second stanza to redirect a Nick Bonino feed for his first of the campaign, and just minutes later, Rinne stopped Anaheim’s Troy Terry on a penalty shot to keep the visitors scoreless.
Later in the period, Mattias Ekholm broke up a Ducks power play and came in on a shorthanded breakaway to beat Gibson and put the Preds up 4-0 through 40 minutes.
“Just the way we kill in the neutral zone, that happens every once in a while that they’re trying to chip it over me because I’m kind of going up a little bit,” Ekholm said of the play. “I didn’t think I did a whole lot, they just kind of floated it in the middle and I pinched on it. I got a lot of time to think about what I was going to do, but I was just trying to keep it simple and shoot the puck. It went in and it was nice. It was a big goal at the time and kind of put the game away.”
Ryan Getzlaf broke the shutout when he scored early in the third to get the Ducks on the board, but Viktor Arvidsson quickly squashed any hope of an Anaheim comeback, and Calle Jarnkrok gave Nashville’s their sixth and final marker of the night.
“It’s a real confidence boost for the team,” Rinne said of the goal-scoring prowess. “It’s early in the season, but we have already come back in a lot of games in the third period. It just gives you the confidence that you can do that. But at the same time, we don’t want to get too loose either.”
Even though they won by five goals, the Predators still relied on their goaltender to give them that cushion. Like always, Rinne was ready for the challenge and boosted his personal record to 5-0-1 in the process.
“There are a couple of reads that could still be better, there are still things that we definitely need to get better at defensively, but it was a good game and a good win for us,” Laviolette said. “We will go back and we will continue to try to tighten things down, so that we don’t have to rely on our goaltender for six huge saves. You need your goaltender to make some big saves, but we just want to try to limit that number if we can.”
A week ago tonight, the Predators felt they put forth their best effort of the season in a 5-2 victory in Las Vegas. A week later, they have another outing to compete in that category – a commanding win that showed exactly what the Preds are capable of when they’re at their best.
“Just the consistency in the game too, I didn’t think we had any big moments where we were just suffering through their offensive play,” Ekholm said. “Maybe in the second [period] a little bit [they were pressing], but other than that, in the third [period] we cleaned it off nicely. It was a good 60-minute effort from the team, and it’s good to see.”
Filip Forsberg missed his third-consecutive game with a lower-body injury. Grimaldi re-entered the lineup after being scratched on Saturday.
Mattias Ekholm’s goal was his third-career shorthanded tally.
Kyle Turris extended his point streak to four games (2g-3a).
Ryan Ellis is now on a five-game point streak (9a).
Nashville’s three-game homestand concludes on Thursday night when the Minnesota Wild come to town (at 7 p.m. CT). The Preds will then head to Tampa Bay for a date with the Lightning on Saturday (at 6 p.m.).