Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Nashville scores first, Perry leaves early
By Dan Arritt
After the 1st period:
Nashville Predators 1, Ducks 0
The good: If there’s an example of how to dominate time of possession in the offensive zone and still get outscored in a period, the Ducks made a highlight video in the first 20 minutes. Anaheim took eight shots on goal, missed the net on seven others and seven shots were blocked. Bottom line, the Ducks couldn’t get anything past Nashville’s standout goalie, Pekka Rinne, who made a highlight-reel save on Teemu Selanne with about nine minutes remaining. Selanne had an open side of the net to shoot into but Rinne slid over and took away the low side. He guessed right and knocked the puck off target. The Predators look as if they're going to sit back and protect the one-goal lead, so it's important for the Ducks to get even soon.
The bad: Ducks leading scorer Corey Perry left the ice in apparent pain with about a minute remaining after getting struck in the right forearm arm by a hard slap shot by teammate Luca Sbisa. The Ducks could ill afford to be without their 50-goal scorer against a defense as stingy as Nashville’s. Hopefully, he was just getting an early start into the locker room. The Predators finished the regular season ranked 26th out of 30 teams in power-play efficiency, but they didn’t have any trouble taking a 1-0 lead with the man advantage. Matt Beleskey went off for the first of his two penalties and Nashville scored just over a minute later when defenseman Shea Weber sent Nashville’s second shot on goal past Anaheim goalkeeper Dan Ellis with 15:47 left in the period.
The in between: The Ducks are forced to go with Ellis for the third straight game because of continued vertigo symptoms by Jonas Hiller and a lower-body injury to Ray Emery, who is serving as the backup. Ellis hasn’t been bad, but the puck has trickled away on a couple saves, leading to some desperate scrambles in front of the net.