The Nashville Predators came back from Thursday's debacle in San Jose to defeat the slumping Anaheim Ducks 1-0 at the Honda Center which improved their all time record there to 5-14-3.
Shea Weber had the game's only goal late in the first period and it held up for the remainder of the contest.
Pekka Rinne was perfect in net, stopping all 31 Anaheim shots. He has aided by a Predator defense that allowed very few second chance shots.
Jonas Hiller was almost as good for the Ducks stopping 27 of 28 Predator shots.
The Predators finished the night with 79 points in the Western Conference which left Calgary and Detroit with a game in hand and needing a win on Saturday to keep pace with the Predators.
The Ducks came out in the first period determined to improve on their 0-3-1 post Olympic record. They out-skated the Preds and put tremendous pressure on Pekka Rinne right from the opening puck drop. The Ducks had at least six legitimate scoring chances in the first ten minutes of the game.
In spite of the Duck's dominance, Shea Weber broke through with the game's first goal at 17:54 when he scored on a five on three power play. With Aaron Ward and Ryan Getzlaf in the box Jason Arnot fed the puck to Weber who let loose a seeing-eyed bomb that found the back of the Duck's net. Jason Arnott and Ryan Suter assisted on the goal.
For the first period, the Ducks out shot the Predators 14-9 and led in the Corsi numbers 22-12. The Preds were 14-9 in the faceoff circle including a perfect 5-0 to start the game.
The second period was played much closer to the vest by both teams. Both teams skated and played defense limiting their opponent's opportunities. The Predators outshot the Ducks 8-6 for the period and led the Corsi 16-11.
The third period looked like a continuation of the second with the same type of conservative play. Shots were tied with eleven apiece and the Corsi favored the Ducks 17-13 as they were throwing everything at the net down the stretch.
Storylines From the Game
Pekka Rinne Returned to Form...
Pekka Rinne celebrated his 100th NHL game with his eleventh career shutout that included 31 saves, many under pressure from a desperate Ducks offense. After last night's debacle with Ellis in goal, it would have been a long rest of the season had Pekka not clearly reestablished his presence in goal.
One Goal Is All That Was Needed...
Shea Weber's goal in the first period was the only one of the game and held up for the last two periods. This created a very uncomfortable situation for players and fans alike. Both teams played defensive hockey not wanting to give an inch in a game that close.
Pred's Defense Was Desperate...
The Predator defenders, as well as the forwards did an excellent job at clearing pucks from in front of the net and cut down on the second chances for the Ducks offense.
In the closing minutes the Predators did themselves proud, overcoming the demons that were exposed in San Jose. Being able to hold on in a close contest helped reestablish the confidence that was lost the night before.
The Predators will practice Saturday in preparation for Sunday's afternoon match with the Kings at the Staples Center. They will return home after the game and settle in for a three game home stand starting with Philadelphia on Tuesday night at the Bridgestone Center.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass