The Anaheim Ducks have separated themselves from the pack by finishing strong for much of the 2014-15 season. They took the Western Conference lead by doing just that against the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.
Nashville carried a 2-0 lead into the third period, but the game flipped in a pretty staggering fashion.
Ryan Getzlaf scored the 2-1 goal a little more than two minutes into the final frame, but things really escalated several minutes later. Kyle Palmieri tied the game up 9:16 into the third period while Nate Thompson connected for the game-winner just 35 seconds later. One can assume that the Predators’ felt deflated once Cam Fowler scored a power-play insurance marker five minute later.
A matter of fatigue?
Perhaps Nashville ran out of gas to some extent? They were closing off a back-to-back set and a four-game road trip while Anaheim held home-ice advantage and were relatively well-rested.
Beyond the scoring, the stats make an argument in that regard, as the Ducks generated a 15-4 shot advantage in the third period after Nashville generated a 23-13 differential through the first 40 minutes.
Whatever explanation you want to trot out, the bottom line is that the Ducks won, and swept their season series in the process.
It’s also clear that teams shouldn’t take third periods lightly when they happen against Anaheim.
The Ducks now lead the NHL with 11 wins when trailing after two periods. They’ve also generated a remarkable goal differential in third periods, as they’ve scored 79 goals while only allowing 58.
One can debate if this all boils down to luck or if the Ducks seem to possess that “extra gear” – maybe Bruce Boudreau somehow stacks the deck so they tire opponents out late? – but either way, Anaheim sure is showing a remarkable tendency to close the deal.