Hiller Expected To Return Tonight In Nashville As Ducks Aim For Fifth Straight Win

(Sports Network) - By winning the opener of their three-game road trip last night, the Anaheim Ducks were able to leap back into the playoff picture. They can continue that rise tonight with a fifth straight victory overall in a meeting with the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

Anaheim rallied for two big points Wednesday night in Dallas, getting a game- tying goal from Teemu Selanne with seven seconds left in regulation before Cam Fowler won it, 4-3, 1:42 into overtime. Each of the Ducks' last three games have gone into overtime and they have now won three straight and nine of their last 11 on the road.

Now with 87 points, Anaheim moved one ahead of Dallas for eighth overall in the Western Conference and sits a point back of Nashville, Los Angeles and Chicago for seeds 5-7. The Ducks will also visit the Blackhawks on Saturday and have a game in hand over the Predators. Corey Perry became just the third player in team history to reach 40 goals, joining Selanne and Paul Kariya, and Ray Emery finished with 23 saves for the Ducks, who haven't won five straight since a six-game run from Nov. 3-12.

"Good things happen when you believe in yourself," said Selanne. "Team confidence is always the key. Whether you're up two goals or down two goals, you've gotta believe you'll win." After missing 18 of the Ducks' past 19 games due to lightheadedness and dizziness, Jonas Hiller was activated off injured reserve and is expected to make his first start since Feb. 13 tonight after serving as the backup Wednesday. He is just 3-5-0 with a 2.39 goals-against average versus the Predators, though, losing two of three to them this season.

Hiller will try to avoid allowing the Predators to win their season series from the Ducks for the first time since taking three of four in 2003-04. The clubs have split their four-game set in each of the past two seasons, but the Predators have won two of three this year. That includes a 4-1 road victory in the last meeting on Jan. 5, with Pekka Rinne making 40 saves to improve to 5-2-2 with a 1.94 GAA lifetime against Anaheim.

Rinne made 19 saves in Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Edmonton in the opener of a four-game homestand. The Predators have won four straight overall as well as three in a row and six of their past seven at home. A victory tonight would give them their longest winning streak since a season-best six-game burst from Dec. 31-Jan. 11. David Legwand had a goal and an assist in Tuesday's win, giving him four goals and eight assists in his past 10 games.

"I thought [Legwand] was outstanding," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "He took the puck to the net, he was strong, he was skating, he was working. His compete level is very, very high." Martin Erat and Patric Hornqvist also scored. Nashville has won four its past six overall versus Anaheim and six of the past nine played at Bridgestone Arena.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Anaheim Calling.

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