After missing 17 games while a broken bone in his hand heeled, Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne wasted no time getting back in a scoring groove. His teammates followed his lead and the Ducks beat the Predators Saturday night at the Sommet Center.
Selanne fired a puck past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne less than 8 minutes into the opening period to give his team a lead in never relinquished despite a gusty rally by the Preds late.
The Ducks’ 3-2 win avenged last Saturday’s loss to the Preds in the same venue. Last week, Nashville also gave up an early goal to Anaheim but rallied for a 3-1 win. This time around it was Anaheim who put the three goals on the scoreboard.
After two second-period goals by the Ducks, and trailing 3-0 entering the final frame, Nashville finally showed some signs of life.
Patric Hornqvist’s 17th goal of the season less than a minute into the final period gave the home crowd something to cheer about. After Martin Erat chipped in his 15th on the year, with help from J.P. Dumont’s 21st assist, the Preds were poised for another comeback — but couldn’t nail the equalizer.
The Hornqvist tally came on the only power play opportunity Nashville had in a very crisp and clean contest. In fact, the Preds were called for just one penalty as well, but Anaheim failed to capitalize on it.
Nashville outshot the visitors 27-21, with winning goalie Jonas Hiller turning away 25 shots.
Selanne’s goal was his 15th. Ryan Getzlaf and Matt Beleskey has the other goals for Anaheim.
The Predators now head out for a short three-game Pacific Northwest road trip which beings Monday night in Vancouver. The game against the Canucks will be televised on Fox Sports-Tennessee beginning at 9:30 p.m.
• Before Saturday, the home team in this series had won 14 of the last 18 meetings between the two teams dating back to 2005.
• Steve Sullivan, who was hurt in the Preds’ win over Carolina on Thursday, played 22 minutes against Anaheim, assisting on Nashville’s first goal.