Nashville, TN – The Nashville Predators defeated the visiting Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena tonight, 5-2, behind Austin Watson’s first NHL hat trick.
Watson gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at the 11:04 mark of the first period, scoring off of a rebound of a Nick Bonino shot in the crease to get the festivities started.
A spirited battle between the two teams saw multiple minutes of penalties, especially during a contentious second period.
Pekka Rinne was stellar in goal as usual making 17 saves on the night as Nashville has now won four of their last five games.
Adam Henrique brought the Ducks even with Nashville at 2:38 of the second period on an Anaheim power play and the score was tied, 1-1.
Nick Bonino put the Predators ahead 2-1 at 5:38 of the second period and beat Anaheim goaltender John Gibson on the glove side for the score. Gibson had 28 saves on the night for Anaheim.
Watson’s second goal of the night came at 18:36 of the second period for the 3-1 Nashville advantage, but the Ducks would come to within a goal at 19:52 as Ondrej Kase beat Rinne in front after a turnover from Filip Forsberg served up the easy goal and it was 3-2 at the end of the period.
Craig Smith would score at 2:52 of the third period to put the Predators ahead 4-2 on a rebound from a Forsberg shot.
Then Watson completed his hat trick with an empty net goal at 18:54 of the final frame and that would do it for the night.
In his post-game press conference, Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette complimented his players for stepping up and chipping in while Viktor Arvidsson, P.K Subban and Kyle Turris sit out with injuries.
Laviolette mentioned Nick Bonino, and Watson specifically after tonight’s game.
The Predators are back in action on Tuesday night when the Colorado Avalanche comes to Smashville. Puck drop is at 7pm