It was supposed to be a chance for redemption. Instead, a rematch of the first round playoff series between the Anaheim Ducks and the Nashville Predators ended up the same way it did last spring. The Predators came out on top.
Right from the first puck drop, the Predators came at the Ducks with a vengeance. When they scored on the very first shift, just :14 seconds in, you knew it was going to be a long night.
Patric Hornqvist got the first goal, building on his reputation as a Ducks killer. Hornqvist, who has struggled this season, had no struggles this evening and probably wishes that they could play Anaheim every night.
Anaheim is probably grateful they only meet three more times this year.
Nashville made it 2-0 to make a nice neat bookend to the first period with a goal from Martin Erat at 18:59, his first of the year.
In between, the Ducks did not do much of anything exciting, with the exception being Francois Beauchemin’s mid ice hit on Mike Fisher. Fisher, also known as Mr. Underwood, was left dazed and confused and not nearly as healthy as when he started the game. When he finally left the ice, he did not come back and it was announced that he had the clear and concise “upper body injury” ailment that plagues so many players.
Kevin Klein took exception to the hit and got a double major for roughing. Beauchemin got a penalty for roughing, as well as an “illegal check to the head.”
Sheriff Brendan Shanahan will definitely be reviewing the play. Given his proclivities towards justice, the chances are pretty decent that Beauchemin might get to take a seat beyond the penalty box to pay for his sins. If so, he will have some company with J.F. Jacques, who was recalled once again to take care of game four of his five-game suspension, handed down by the same said sheriff during the pre-season.
The Ducks played much better in the second period, but nothing was getting past Pekke Rinne. The power play that served Anaheim so well in their last game against the Wild was apparently left behind in Minnesota.
Nashville was happy to convert on an early power play in the third period, though. Shea Weber made it 3-0 at 2:14, pretty much sealing the win for the Predators, who were consistent all night long.
The Ducks were consistently impotent against Nashville, yielding the shut out to Rinne and tucking their tails between their legs on the way to Columbus, where they get to see if they can get a different result in the second of back to back games.
Fortunately, the Ducks will be able to quickly put this game behind them and move on. Columbus has one win thus far out of 11 games. The Ducks need to make sure they do not take them for granted and bring their “A” game. The one they should have brought against Nashville.