There are times during a season when a goaltender simply steals a game for his team. Granted, the Ducks allowed a season high in goals tonight in a 6-1 loss in Nashville, but Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was on another level. The 36-year-old netminder was in vintage form, robbing the Ducks multiple times in a 30-save effort.
The Ducks had two glorious chances to cut into their deficit. The first came when Ondrej Kase broke in all alone and tried to go top-glove on the 6-foot-5 netminder. Denied. Then, down by three, Troy Terry was issued a penalty shot just three minutes into the second period. Terry was thinking five hole. Denied.
Sprinkle in a handful more Grade-A chances, like Nick Ritchie crashing the backdoor on a power play midway through the second period, or Jakob Silfverberg's doorstep rebound attempt (which Rinne somehow muscled away with his left shoulder), and the Ducks simply couldn't get more than one past one of the league's premier goaltenders.
"I don't think you can really point to anything specifically," said Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler. "Just one of those nights where the bounces didn't seem to go our way. All of a sudden, we were down two, down three. We couldn't get rolling. Couple things didn't bounce our way and we weren't able to get back into the hockey game. There's going to be nights like that, but we need to be able to recoup and move on to the next one."
Trailing by four early in the third, Ryan Getzlaf broke Rinne's shutout bid when he intercepted a pass from Predators defenseman Dam Hamhuis and wired a snap shot for his third goal of the season. It marked Getzlaf's eighth point (4g/4a) in his last six games vs. Nashville, and his 45th career point (15g/30a) in 41 games against the Preds.
Video: ANA@NSH: Getzlaf goes upstairs following turnover
The Ducks' inability to convert on the power play came back to haunt them tonight. After Roman Josi opened the scoring at the 11:23 mark of the first period, Colton Sissons doubled the lead just seconds after his slashing penalty expired at the 16:19 mark of the opening frame. Then, Rocco Grimaldi gave the Preds a three-goal cushion 35 seconds into the second period. But it was Mattias Ekholm's shorthanded goal midway through the middle stanza that really burned the Ducks.
Viktor Arvidsson added two goals in the third period to put the game out of reach.
"I really don't think it was all that bad," Fowler said, on the game overall. "There was some sloppiness that led to a few of their goals. They capitalized on the power play, which we didn't. That's the difference in the game."
John Gibson gave up four goals on 19 shots through two periods, while Ryan Miller finished off the final 20.
With the loss, the Ducks fell to 6-4-0, but will have a chance to get back into the win column on Thursday night when they face former longtime teammate Corey Perry and the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.