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Ducks’ miscue proves critical in OT loss to Predators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — What Ducks coach Dallas Eakins called “honest miscommunication,” between Trevor Zegras and defenseman Colton White started a sequence leading to defenseman Roman Josi’s overtime goal, giving Nashville a 2-1 victory over the Ducks on Tuesday night.

Josi’s goal came with 1:10 remaining in overtime and dealt the Ducks their first loss in overtime in four games. It was the first point for the Ducks on the road since Nov. 5 at San Jose.

“We want to hang on to the puck there,” Eakins explained. “We just don’t want to throw it out of our zone. We’ve got it and Trevor was under pressure. The last look – that puck is either going to go back to (goaltender) Gibby (John Gibson) or that puck is going to go back to White. But White had started up the wall to start to get a change.

“Literally when the puck was put back to Gibby, his head was turned for a split second and was out of his reach a little bit. Those are just mistakes. Those are not these, ‘Hey we’ve got to correct this, or correct that.’ Mistakes just happen in a game.”

Said Ducks forward Max Jones: “We fight so hard to get back in these games and this isn’t the first time it’s happened to us and it’s tough. When you’re trying to figure out things as a team, those are the games you want to get on the other side of.”

For two and a half periods, the Ducks couldn’t solve Predators goalie Juuse Saros. But at 10:39 of the third, Troy Terry’s wrist shot from the slot went in the net off the glove of Saros to tie it, 1-1. It was Terry’s team-leading 10th goal of the season. Assisting on his goal was defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The Ducks outshot the Predators 16-7 in the third period.

“I thought I had better shots than the one I scored on tonight,” Terry said. “… That one I was able to carry it into the slot area and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get all of my shot away because I had a guy on me. Something about it fooled him and it was able to go in.

“It’s just a reminder that for myself I just need to keep on shooting-the-puck thing.”

Before Terry broke through, the Ducks had been unable to take advantage of the rusty Predators, whose last two games at Bridgestone Arena were postponed because of concerns created by a water main break in downtown Nashville. The break caused portions of the arena to be flooded.

For the most part, the Ducks did what they’ve been striving to do away from Honda Center, play a more structured road game. Terry thought it was arguably one of their best road games of the year.

“It’s hard to not get frustrated and that starts with myself,” Terry said. “I’ve been feeling it too and I need to not let it show. We just need to stop being frustrated and realize that we came into a hard building to play in, on the road, and had our chances to win that game and still got a point. Once it gets to overtime, really anything can happen.”

Said Eakins: “Gibby did a great job of doing his job in the second period. I thought we had an excellent third.

“That’s how we have to play on the road. We talked about it before. It’s OK to have shifts where there’s not a lot going on. It’s OK to have a period where there’s not a whole lot going on. That’s how you want to play on the road. We ended up with no power plays tonight, which was unfortunate. But good to get a point. Some good building blocks and guys stayed with it. I thought our execution and our will in the third was excellent.”

The lone goal through two periods was from Predators forward Colton Sissons, who now has nine points in 16 career games against the Ducks. His goal came at 10:04 of the second period as Sissons got in behind the defense and converted a centering pass from linemate Matt Duchene.

One positive development for the Ducks was the return of defenseman Urho Vaakanainen. It was Vaakanainen’s first NHL regular-season game since last season’s finale on April 29 at Dallas and his first NHL appearance of any kind since he was injured in a preseason contest against San Jose on Sept. 30 at Honda Center.

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