Funny as it sounds, the Nashville Predators actually were better off in the second period of their 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
It is no secret that coach Barry Trotz’s innards churn and his blood boils when opponents manage to open up a game and create some real end-to-end excitement as the Ducks did in the middle 20 minutes Thursday at Bridgestone Arena.
Yet if this season has shown anything it’s that once the goals start to pile up, the more the better for the Predators. Never mind that they are one of the league’s lowest scoring teams on the season.
The loss to Anaheim was the 12th time in 45 games that Nashville and its opponent combined for at least seven goals.
The Predators are 5-5-2 in those contests, a .500 winning percentage that is slightly better than its overall winning percentage (.978) but greatly decreased by the fact that they are 2-4-0 in contests when the sides score seven times combined. Once the goal count reaches eight or more, the mark is 3-1-2 (a .750 winning percentage).
NASHVILLE PREDATORS BIG GOAL GAMES
10 Combined Goals (2-0-0)
W 6-4 at Colorado, Nov. 6, 2013
W 6-4 vs. Detroit, Dec. 30, 2013
9 Combined Goals (1-0-0)
W 7-2 vs. Chicago, Nov. 16, 2013
8 Combined Goals (0-1-2)
L 5-4 (SO) at Phoenix, Oct. 31, 2013
L 6-2 vs. Boston, Dec. 23, 2013
L 5-4 (SO) at Florida, Jan. 4, 2014
7 Combined Goals (2-4-0)
W 4-3 vs. Florida, Oct. 15, 2013
L 6-1 vs. St. Louis, Oct. 26, 2013
W 4-3 at Los Angeles, Nov. 2, 2013
L 5-2 vs. Carolina, Dec. 5, 2013
L 5-2 vs. Washington, Dec. 7, 2013
L 4-3 vs. Anaheim, Jan. 9, 2014
Anaheim scored all of its goals in the second period while Nashville had just one. That nearly equaled the average number of goals in an entire Predators contest (2.40 for, 2.91 against, 5.31 total).
Combined, the teams had 26 shots on goal in that period, nearly half the total for the entire game (54).
That made it 4-3 at the start of the third period, and it was the Ducks who slowed things down. They attempted just four shots over the final 20 minutes and dared the Predators to break through their defense.
Had Nashville managed to maintain the offensive tone it set when it scored twice in the opening 2:22 of the contest, it might have managed to get a much-needed point or more out of this contest. Instead, their preferred pace – once finally established – actually worked against the Predators.