|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET23:00 BRT, November 25, 2018
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee Attendance: 17,167
Predators host Ducks, try to shake the Blues
One thing the Nashville Predators have been under coach Peter Laviolette is honest about their performance. If they're playing well, they'll tell you about it. And if they're not playing well, they aren't afraid to air themselves out.
That was the case Friday night in St. Louis, when a Blues team that entered the game with seven wins in 20 games boatraced Nashville 6-2, establishing a 5-1 second-period lead before Laviolette pulled goaltender Juuse Saros for Pekka Rinne.
In an interview with Fox Sports Tennessee after the first period, in which the Predators got only three shots on goalie Jake Allen and fell behind 3-1, center Nick Bonino criticized the team's performance. Afterward, teammates and Laviolette weren't too far behind.
"There were things we did wrong right from the start to the end," Laviolette said. "We made too many mistakes. That's why we lost the game."
Nashville will try not to replicate that performance Sunday night when they open a five-game homestand against the Anaheim Ducks.
At 16-6-1, the Predators are still tied for the best record in the NHL and own a three-point lead on Minnesota for first place in the Central Division. But they have lost four in a row on the road and their defense has shown weaknesses at times in the last seven games, when they've gone 3-3-1.
"We didn't play well defensively at all," captain Roman Josi said of the defeat in St. Louis. "They had a lot of chances, and the chances they had were really good chances right in front of the net. We have to play a lot better."
Fortunately for Nashville, an extended stay in their rink awaits. Colorado, Arizona, Chicago and Buffalo follow Anaheim into Bridgestone Arena, where it is 8-3-0 with five straight wins.
The Predators will look to avenge a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ducks on Nov. 12, a game in which they put 35 shots on goal to Anaheim's 30. But John Gibson came up large with 34 stops, plus three more in a four-round shootout, and Nashville was a brutal 0-for-7 on the power play.
While the Predators are starting a long homestand, the Ducks are beginning a five-game road trip which takes them to Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina and Washington. They embarked on the journey with two points in their pocket after a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory Friday against Edmonton.
Nick Ritchie forced the extra period with his first goal at 19:43 of the third period, and Rickard Rakell sent the fans home happy with the game-winner 14 seconds into overtime. It was his 100th career goal, but his first since Nov. 1.
"It feels great," Rakell said. "Any time you're not scoring for a while, I knew I had scoring chances the last few games. Great feeling. Hopefully, I can play a little bit more loose now."
Gibson (8-7-4, 2.49 goals-against average, .928 save percentage), who has played well again this year, figures to get the start for Anaheim. Rinne (9-2-1, 1.66, .944) should go between the pipes for Nashville. He stopped 29 shots in the loss to the Ducks.
Updated November 24, 2018