Calle Jarnkrok tied the game and Kyle Turris won it in the shootout as the Nashville Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks by a 3-2 final on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The win is Nashville’s 16th overall on the season and second of the campaign against Anaheim, giving the Preds a victory to begin the month of December.
In a game that featured plenty of hostilities between two clubs that don’t fancy each other, it was the Predators who scored twice on the power play and twice more in the shootout to collect their 34th and 35th points of the season in one of the more satisfying victories to date.
“It’s going to get nasty at times, but those are fun games and you get ready for those,” Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne said. “I felt like it took some time for us to get going, but after the first period, I thought that we were the team that took over the game.”
After a scoreless first period, it was a power-play chance that brought Nashville a goal, just as it has in each of their 13 home games this season. Kevin Fiala was the goal scorer on this occasion to push the franchise record to just two games away from tying the all-time NHL record for consecutive home games with a power-play goal.
Just minutes later, however, it was Anaheim that cashed in on a man advantage of their own with a goal from Adam Henrique, his first as a member of the Ducks.
Cam Fowler gave Anaheim their first lead of the night at 5:01 of the third period, but then Jarnkrok converted on a broken play, the second power-play tally of the night for the Preds, to tie the game and force overtime, and then a shootout where Fiala and Turris beat Ryan Miller and Rinne was perfect.
“With Pekka Rinne in the game, we know we can always win, and that’s what we did tonight,” Predators forward Filip Forsberg, who has now registered at least one point in each of Nashville’s 13 home games this season, said.
“It shows good character,” Jarnkrok said. “We came back today, we got better in the third and got the win.”
Animosity Leads to Accomplishment:
Perhaps it’s the three postseason meetings, including two in the past two years, but there’s a little extra disdain in the air when the Preds and Ducks get together.
That truculence was one full display once more on Saturday night with a number of scrums and skirmishes throughout the evening. But the more the Ducks poked and prodded, the more the Predators seemed to wake up, and the animosity eventually led to another victory over and Anaheim team that has suffered four consecutive regular-season losses in Nashville, plus two more in last spring’s Western Conference Final.
And that’s just the way Nashville likes it.
“I feel like since a few years back, we have had some history with Anaheim over the years and over the playoff series,” Rinne said. “It’s gotten to a point where I feel like they don’t really like us and we don’t really like them, so it’s a good setup for a good match.”
“There’s an intensity; there’s a physicality that goes with it,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I think our guys, after the first period, got a little more competitive, even toward the end of the first a little bit. There’s not a lot of room out there as there typically isn’t. You have to fight for space and fight in the battles and that’s just the way these games go.”
Arvidsson with the Assist:
Viktor Arvidsson picked up a helper before the puck even dropped.
Prior to Saturday’s game, the Nashville forward played a large role in a marriage proposal between two diehard Predators fans. As he walked out to the ice through Bridgestone Arena’s Lexus Lounge, Arvidsson carried an engagement ring with him.
As he spotted the future bride and groom, Morgan Landsberg and Conor Payne in the crowd, Arvidsson, who just happens to be Landsberg’s favorite player, offered up the ring to a stunned recipient. Payne then got down on one knee and popped the question and received an unequivocal yes to complete what turned out to be one of the more unique proposals ever seen around these parts.
“He’s quite the lovebird, that Arvi,” goaltender Pekka Rinne said of his teammate’s role in the surprise.”
Nashville has earned at least a point in five of its last six games against Anaheim.
Kevin Fiala’s power-play goal was his first on the man advantage in his career.
Nashville concludes their four-game home stand on Monday night when they host the Boston Bruins before jetting off to Dallas to face the Stars on Tuesday.