What began with such promise quickly turned south, as the Ducks were dealt a 5-0 loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night. Anaheim controlled the majority of the first half, but lapses in concentration and an inability to capitalize on six power plays effectively put an end to the club's four-game point streak. The Ducks fell to 7-6-3 (17 pts.) on the season.
John Gibson stopped 14-of-18 shots before being relieved by Jonathan Bernier with four minutes remaining in the second period. Gibson took the loss, dropping his overall record to 5-5-3.
Ryan Ellis, James Neal (two goals), Colton Sissons and Filip Forsberg provided the offensive punch for the Predators, who improved to 6-5-3 (15 pts.) in the finale of a four-game homestand. The win pushed their point streak to six consecutive games (4-0-2, 10 pts.).
In an opening frame the Ducks thoroughly dominated, the Predators made them pay on Ellis' goal with only 2.4 seconds remaining in the period. Forsberg earned his team-leading 10th assist on the goal, which came about after a mishap in defensive zone by the Ducks. A miscue in coverage allowed Ellis to sneak in uncontested from the left point to chip a one-timer over the shoulder of Gibson, who had to make a desperation save on the shift prior on Forsberg. Four of Nashville's nine shots, by the way, came in the final 46 seconds of the period.
The second period began with a four-minute power play courtesy of a P.K. Subban double-minor for clipping Corey Perry in the mouth. Unfortunately for the Ducks, who peppered Rinne with chances, they couldn't find the equalizer despite controlling possession for nearly all four minutes of the man advantage.
Gloves were dropped at the nine-minute mark of the middle frame when Jared Boll and Cody Bass grappled in front of the Predators bench. Only glancing blows were to be had from the one-time teammates of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and both made their way to the box for five minutes.
Neal put the Predators up 2-0 on what seemed like a harmless wrist shot from the top of the dot. But the crafty sniper threaded his shot through a wall of players to beat Gibson over the left shoulder. The goal came just minutes after the Ducks nearly tied the game on the power play.
Despite being on their fifth power play of the night, the Ducks were the ones fishing the puck out of the net after a lackadaisical effort in the defensive zone resulted in a Sissons shorthanded goal at the 15:53 mark of the second period. The play started when Hampus Lindholm was outmuscled by Viktor Arvidsson behind Gibson. Arvidsson won the battle and sent a pass to the hard-charging Sissons, who scored his first career shorthanded goal.
Forsberg put the game out of reach just 1:07 later when he banged home Ryan Johansen's cross-ice pass for his first goal of the season. The talented left wing is coming off a 33-goal, 64-point 2015-16 campaign with the Predators, but it took him 14 games to light the lamp this season.
Having seen enough, or perhaps sending a message to his players, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle pulled Gibson in favor of Bernier.
Minutes later, Bass had to answer the bell again when Josh Manson challenged him to a fight with under 60 seconds remaining in the period.
Nashville increased its lead to 5-0 with a power-play tally from Neal at the 6:06 mark of the third period, his second goal of the night and fifth in his past four games.
The Ducks will fly home tomorrow morning to spend the rest of November (with the exception of a Nov. 30 travel day to Vancouver) in Southern California. They'll open a five-game homestand by hosting the Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center on Tuesday.