What we learned from the Ducks’ 4-3 shootout victory over Nashville on Sunday:
The Ducks like drama
They’ve played 26 one-goal games this season and are 20-0-6 in those contests. Of their last 19 victories, 17 have been decided by one goal.
“We try not to, but right now that’s what we’re getting, and we’ll take those two points,” said defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who scored the tying goal Sunday with 2:17 left in the third period. “Especially when we play teams like the last couple games. They’ve been really hard games, St. Louis and Nashville. Those are two points that we need right now.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau expects his team to be involved in many more tight games. “The teams we play, this next batch of teams, and the last batch, they’re good teams. So you know they’re going to be one-goal games,” he said.
“We’re getting the best games from a lot of teams. So I’ll take the one-goal games because in the April-May-June time, one-goal games are what it is. If we get better at it and we feel comfortable at it, then good for us.”
Jakob Silfverberg is money in the shootout
The Swedish winger scored on Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton on Sunday for his league-leading sixth shootout goal this season and is 11-for-19 (57.9%) for his career. That's tops among active skaters with a minimum of 15 attempts. Ryan Kesler is three for eight this season and was credited with the game-deciding goal, his second this season.
Kesler makes the Ducks a better team in many ways
They acquired him from Vancouver to better compete against teams like the Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, who are strong up the middle, and he has done what they asked. He should have had an assist on the Ducks’ first goal Sunday, since he took the puck from Filip Forsberg on a play that Matt Beleskey finished off — and he has been instrumental in Beleskey’s career-best 17-goal production so far.
Kesler won 10 of 15 faceoffs Sunday, was +1 defensively, played a team-high four minutes and six seconds while the Ducks were shorthanded and led the team’s forwards with 22 minutes and 33 seconds of ice time.
The Predators are a formidable team
Nashville will cause a lot of problems for a lot of opponents. They’re big, strong, fast, and still solid in their defensive zone even though new Coach Peter Laviolette has opened things up offensively. But they did fail to protect third-period leads against the Kings on Saturday — the Predators eventually won, 7-6, in overtime — and against the Ducks on Sunday, the second time paying the price in defeat.
“Our guys fought hard and battled hard for playing the night before and coming in here against a top team,” Laviolette said. “In a position to win, we have to close that out.”