Somehow Anaheim keeps finding a way to get the job done and win games. The persevering Ducks finished up their six game road trip with a 3-2 shootout win over Nashville, giving them a 5-1-0 record on the trip, their best road trip in franchise history.
It was the second of back to back games, and the Ducks were clearly tired. Nonetheless, they dug deep, got great goaltending from Viktor Fasth (again), and pulled off yet another win in a building that has not been very friendly to the team.
"Finding ways to win," said Nick Bonino, who was successful for the third time in a row during a shootout. "It's the easiest way to put it."
Doing enough of the good things, was how coach Bruce Boudreau put it. Enough of those good things paid off.
The Ducks took too many penalties that were an obvious show of fatigue on the road weary team. They had good enough penalty kill to kill off all five of them. That included a too many men on the ice penalty with less than a minute remaining in the game that turned into a 4 on 3 in overtime.
Their best penalty killer was Fasth, who stopped 32 shots in his eighth win in eights starts. He is just one more starting win away from the record of nine wins in nine starts that Ray Emery accomplished in 2005-2007 with Ottawa.
“It’s the team effort that counts,” said Fasth humbly. “I’m not going to stand here and just talk about myself. I mean, it’s a team sport. If the guys don’t play good in front of me, I can’t play good. And the other way around. It’s a team game.”
Yes, it is a team game, but there are some nights where your goaltender steals you a couple of points. Without Fasth, the Ducks would not have fared so well in Nashville.
David Legwand had an easy tap in goal at 13:31 of the first period to put the Predators on the board first.
Matt Beleskey tied up the game at 17:25 with his second goal in as many games. Beleskey has been on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, and for a guy who was expected to be the forechecker and the guy who did the dirty work, he has been a pleasant scoring surprise.
Beleskey's goal was the first that Pekke Rinne had allowed in 155 minutes.
The Predators took back the lead at 9:31 of the second period. Shea Weber got his first goal of the season and he looked as happy and relieved as Perry did the night before in Detroit.
Rookie Patrick Maroon, who was recently called up from Norfolk, got his first ever NHL goal at 16:08 to tie up the game. Maroon was on the fourth line, which still had a jump in their step, somthing missing from the rest of the Ducks. Maroon was able to score in front of his family, who came from St. Louis to watch him play in person.
The Ducks (and Fasth) were able to hold on to the tie and took the game to overtime. Instead of really attacking the Ducks, the Predators were more cautious and once again the Ducks took a game to overtime and a shootout.
Fasth was able to stop two of Nashville's shooters, while Bonino and Perry got their shots behind Rinne to win the game.
The Ducks now get to come home and rest (a little). They play Columbus on Monday at the Honda Center and then have five days without a game on the schedule. That could be good (recover) or they could lose some of the very good momentum that they have built up.
Jonas Hiller was able to back up Fasth against Nashville and could find himself in net against Columbus.