NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 24: Dan Sexton #42 of the Anaheim Ducks digs for the puck as Brad Winchester #19 of the Anaheim Ducks collides with Patric Hornqvist #27 of the Nashville Predators on March 24, 2011 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Ducks Lose In Nashville, Snap Four-Game Skid

Nashville has won five its past seven overall versus Anaheim and seven of the past 10 played at Bridgestone Arena.

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Ducks Fall In Overtime To Predators, 5-4

Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Sergei Kostitsyn scored two goals, Pekka Rinne made 34 saves and the Nashville Predators picked up two critical points in the standings with a 5-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators appeared to be in cruise control after David Legwand buried a short-handed marker to expanded their lead to 5-1 at 9:29 of the third period. But Anaheim's Teemu Selanne capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play 10 seconds later. The veteran Finn cashed in on another two-man advantage at 15:14, when his pass towards the net deflected in off a Nashville player.

The Ducks managed to pull within a goal as Corey Perry's shot from the left wing was inadvertently kicked in by Predators defenseman Ryan Suter with 26.5 seconds remaining and goaltender Dan Ellis on the bench.

Nashville, though, held on to record its fifth consecutive win.

"It's not the way we wanted to finish, but it happens and the two points are the biggest thing and they didn't get any," Legwand said.

Nick Spaling and Jordin Tootoo both registered a goal and one assist for the Predators, who snapped Anaheim's win streak at four games.

Jonas Hiller, making his first start for the Ducks since February 13, was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals on nine shots. The Swiss goaltender had missed 15 straight games with vertigo.

Ellis finished with 17 saves in relief.

The win gave Nashville 90 points, good for sixth place in the Western Conference. Anaheim is eighth with 87 points.

Nashville jumped out to a 3-0 lead, turning Hiller's anticipated return between the pipes into a brief cameo.

It didn't take the Predators long to strike as Kostitsyn pounced on a loose puck in the crease 2:04 after the game's opening faceoff.

Spaling doubled the advantage at 11:18, collecting a carom off the end boards and stuffing it home at the left side of the net. Kostitsyn lit the lamp again 19 seconds later.

Perry converted a Bobby Ryan feed to put Anaheim on the board with 3:59 to play in the first period.

Tootoo supplied the only goal in the middle stanza.

Game Notes

Perry ranks second in the NHL with 42 goals this season, one behind Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos...Anaheim forward Ryan Getzlaf collected three assists...Patric Hornqvist and Kevin Klein both had two assists for Nashville.


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


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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