Jason Arnott’s 100th goal as a member of the Nashville Predators was a long time coming. Even so, the timing was pretty good.
Arnott scored with 9:49 to play as both he and the Predators overcame a bit of offensive ill fortune and started the second half of their season with a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday before 16,654 at the Sommet Center.
“The last couple of games he’s had some great chances, and you can get a little bit frustrated,” coach Barry Trotz said. “… It was good to see him get that because the last couple nights he’s had some glorious chances.”
Arnott joined David Legwand (151) and Martin Erat as the only players with at least 100 goals for Nashville and in so doing snapped a season-high nine-game streak without a goal.
He also finally gave the Predators the lead for the first time in a game they largely dominated. They outshot the Ducks 32-17 through the first two periods but fell behind on a bit of a fluke goal 7:45 into the contest. They managed only to even the score on a Shea Weber goal — his first in 20 games — with 4:33 to go in the second.
“I thought we did a good job of getting pucks to the net,” Weber said. “… I thought we could have had more goals than that.”
They finally got the one they needed when Arnott and Weber came on the rush against two Anaheim defenders. Weber carried the puck across the blue line and fed it to Arnott in the high slot. Arnott quickly let loose a snap shot that found the mark.
It was his first game-winner of the season and his first goal of any kind since Dec. 10 against Columbus. At that time, he was the team leader in goals, and with this one – his 12th of the season – he moved to within two of Erat, who has missed the last two games with an injury.
“It almost was like a little joke in here,” Arnott said. “Everybody was laughing at me because it wasn’t going in the net. I don’t know. It just wasn’t going in.”
The team captain has played 247 games for Nashville in a career that consists of 1,071 with four different franchises. He scored exactly 100 in 286 contests for Edmonton, the team which drafted him seventh overall in 1993, followed with 97 in 302 appearances for New Jersey and 79 in 236 games with Dallas.
“It’s a relief,” he said. “When they don’t go in and you get that many chances, it gets frustrating.”
• Weber tied his own franchise record for shots in a game by a defenseman with 10 – all of which came in the first two periods. He scored on the 10th, which was his third in a span of 11 seconds as the Predators sustained an attack.
“I just kept trying to get to the puck to the net,” he said. “… I just got lucky to get one in there.”
Weber also had 10 against Vancouver back on Feb. 21, 2008. Arnott set the franchise record with 12 on Dec. 4, 2007 at Toronto.
• Legwand added to his franchise record for goals when he scored into an empty net just before the final horn sounded.
It was the sixth empty-net goal for Nashville this season, and Legwand became the first with more than one. He also got one at St. Louis on Nov. 12.