There were plenty of special-team goals scored in a game featuring the most productive power play in the young NHL season. But to the chagrin of the Nashville Predators, it was the Anaheim Ducks that capitalized on the man-advantage and the penalty kill in a manner the franchise had never before seen.
Led by a short-handed goal and another on the power play from Jakob Silfverberg, the Ducks came away with a 6-1 victory over the Predators on Wednesday night behind three power-play goals and two short-handed goals.
It was the first time the Ducks had ever been so productive on special teams, matching a feat last accomplished by Edmonton in a March 2008 game against the Coyotes.
"If I knew the reason we'd do it every night, so I can't say I have the answer to that," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "I don't know if you can take that blueprint and expect it many more times throughout the year."
Nick Ritchie, Corey Perry, Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Kesleralso scored for Anaheim, and John Gibson stopped 28 shots, as the Ducks earned a point in their fourth consecutive game and for the fifth time in their last six outings.
The Ducks took command with five goals in the second period, Silfverberg opening the flurry for his ninth career multi-goal game. Shea Theodore found Silfverberg on an easy give-and-go for the short-handed goal, before ripping a wrist shot past Pekka Rinne to become the first Duck with two goals on special teams sinceJamie McGinn scored twice on the power play at Toronto last season.
"Once he got the first one, you see the way he can shoot it when he is confident and poised with the puck," Kesler said. "That second one was a laser."
The Predators had scored nine power-play goals in their first six games, but the Ducks did not back off while killing five penalties. Using a scouting report that encouraged constant pressure, it paid off again when Cogliano scored another short-handed goal.
"We didn't expect to get two shorties, but when you force people and they turn the puck over like they did tonight we're going to get chances," Kesler said.
Rinne had 13 saves before being pulled late in the second period after Perry scored the Ducks' only even-strength goal, as the Predators dropped to 0-3-0 on the road this season. Marek Mazanec stopped 2 of 9 shots in relief, and Colin Wilson scored on the power play in the third period.
"Special teams just swung the pendulum tonight in the wrong direction," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "The short-handed goals and power-play goals are too much for any team."
Ritchie put the Ducks ahead 2:57 into the first period with his second goal of the season. Antoine Vermetteand Michael Sgarbossa had assists on Ritchie's goal. It was Sgarbossa's second career point and first with the Ducks, while Vermette picked up his second point in as many nights.
The Predators bounced the four-time Pacific Division champion Ducks in the first round of the playoffs last season, a slight that had was not forgotten in the home team's locker room.
"It's a new team, new year, but we know what happened last year and it's still fresh in our minds," Kesler said.
NOTES: Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf and G Jonathan Bernier did not play because of upper-body injuries. Bernier and Getzlaf were hurt in the Ducks' 2-1 overtime loss at San Jose on Tuesday. . Perry recorded his 670th point for the Ducks, passing Paul Kariya for third-most in franchise history.
Predators: Face Los Angeles on Thursday as their five-game West Coast road trip continues.
Ducks: Host Columbus on Friday, with four more home games sandwiched around a visit to Los Angeles over the next two weeks.