Mighty Ducks of Anaheim forward Andy McDonald sparked his team to a three-goal second period that overcame an early Nashville Predators lead and put the Ducks ahead to stay in a 4-1 win Tuesday night at Arrowhead Pond. The loss was the third straight for the Predators, whose record moves to 8-2-1.
Nashville took a 1-0 lead 3:59 into the game on a goal by Yanic Perreault. The play developed after Ducks forward Rob Niedermayer committed a turnover in the Predators' defensive zone. Perreault picked up the loose puck and shoveled it ahead to Steve Sullivan in the neutral zone. The two then took off on an up-ice rush. Sullivan pulled up at the top of the left face-off circle and fired a pass to Perreault low in the right circle for a one-timer that beat Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the short side.
Five first period penalties gave the Ducks four chances on the power play, but strong penalty killing by Nashville preserved the one goal lead through the first intermission.
The Ducks got the jump on Nashville to start the second period, knotting the game at 1-1 with a breakaway goal from the stick of McDonald only 17 seconds in. From the opening face-off, Anaheim players fired the puck around the boards in their defensive zone and got it up the left side boards to McDonald at the Predators' blue line. He picked the puck up in stride and charged in on Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun, sliding the puck between Vokoun's pads to score the tying goal.
McDonald generated the Mighty Ducks' go-ahead goal less than five minutes later, with Predators forward David Legwand in the penalty box for hooking. McDonald carried the puck off the right boards in Nashville's zone and fired a shot from the slot that was deflected at Vokoun's feet by Jonathan Hedstrom.
Nashville killed off a 5-on-3 disadvantage to keep the game close, but was unable to stop Anaheim during a four-minute penalty to Scott Hartnell late in the second period. Ducks forward Teemu Selanne found defenseman Scott Niedermayer down low and hit him with a pass. Niedermayer only got a glancing shot off, but the puck fluttered over Vokoun to extend the lead to 3-1 after two.
The Predators put more pressure on in the third, outshooting the Ducks 13-8, but strong play by Giguere and a lack of follow-up opportunities prevented Nashville from cutting into the margin. Anaheim added a fourth goal with less than three minutes left in the game, when Chris Kunitz hopped on a turnover by defenseman Ryan Suter and beat Vokoun one-on-one with a forehand-to-backhand move.
Anaheim outshot Nashville 35 to 33 in the game, with Giguere stopping 32 of the Predators' chances and Vokoun stopping 31 of those he faced. The Ducks' power play, which entered the game ranked fourth-best at home, struck twice in 10 chances to remain hot. The Predators were shut out in their seven opportunities with the man advantage.
Nashville won't have long to dwell on the loss, as the team plays Wednesday night in San Jose. That game, which starts at 9:30 p.m. CST, will be televised in Nashville on FSN South and broadcast on 104.5 FM The Zone. The Predators will then complete their three-game road trip with an afternoon match-up with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Notes: With his goal against the Ducks, forward Yanic Perreault extended his point streak to five games. He has accumulated three goals and two assists in that span... Defenseman Danny Markov returned from the injured reserve list to play Tuesday night... Forward Scottie Upshall, who was recalled from Nashville's AHL affiliate in Milwaukee on Monday, was inserted into the lineup to replace injured forward Adam Hall... Marek Zidlicky and Steve Sullivan led the Predators in shots with six and five, respectively... Defenseman Mark Eaton registered four blocked shots... Yanic Perreault won 83 percent of his draws against Anaheim, winning 10 and losing two. Nashville won 52 percent of the total face-offs... On the season, Nashville has been outscored 16 to nine in the second period and outshot 125 to 99... The attendance at Arrowhead Pond was 11,690.