NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A two-game suspension was not enough to slow down Jordin Tootoo’s offensive run.
Tootoo had a goal and an assist to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
Nashville has won consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month, while the Ducks have dropped three of four.
Saturday night was Tootoo’s first game back in the Nashville lineup after sitting out for a two-game suspension for charging Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller last Saturday night.
“(Kevin) Klein made a tremendous play,” Tootoo said of the defenceman’s pass.
“I was slicing through the ice and when we made eye contact, we both knew what the situation was going to be, and I got it and pulled the puck to my forehand and went top shelf.”
Tootoo has four goals and four assists in his past eight games.
Nick Spaling and Roman Josi also scored for Nashville.
Andrew Gordon and Francois Beauchemin replied for Anaheim.
Josi’s power-play goal at 2:33 of the third gave Nashville its first lead of the game.
Nashville captain Shea Weber found Josi at the centre of the blue-line, and Josi fired a slapshot over the glove of screened Anaheim goaltender Dan Ellis.
“I saw the direction that he was looking at, but once it came off of his stick, I had no idea where it went,” Ellis said. “I just tried to push into a space. (Patric) Hornqvist was in front doing a good screen and I just couldn’t see through our guys who were trying to block it. It just found its way through.”
It was the Swiss defenceman’s first career NHL goal.
“We were on the PP and I just got on the ice,” Josi said. “(Weber) had the puck on the half wall and passed it to me. I saw there was a lot of traffic in front of the net, so I just shot it.”
Just under three minutes later, Tootoo drove in from the left side, cut toward the Anaheim goal and beat Ellis high to the glove side.
Anaheim drew within one on Beauchemin’s goal at 13:24 of the third.
Coming down from the point, Beauchemin took a pass from Teemu Selanne and beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne for his fourth goal of the season.
“I thought it was an outstanding team game,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “It got a little closer than I wanted it to be, but other than that, they have some outstanding players. They are well-coached and we knew they were going to be really tough and hang in there until the end.”
Rinne is 9-2-2 in 13 career regular-season games against Anaheim.
“Nashville was hungry, and they’re good in their building,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It was hard to get through. They had the puck in our zone it seemed like the whole night. It’s hard to score when that’s the case.”
Gordon scored the game’s first goal at 38 seconds of the second period.
From below the goal-line in the Nashville zone, Brandon McMillan found Gordon on the right side, where he had a step on Josi. Gordon’s tough angle wrist shot beat Rinne just inside the far post.
Spaling tied the game at one at 12:03 of the second.
Colin Wilson carried the puck into the Anaheim zone on the left side. Spaling was trailing the play and Wilson found him in the low slot where he beat Ellis high to the stick side.
Notes: Selanne’s assist on Beauchemin’s goal was his 900th point scored as a Duck. Selanne also extended his point-scoring streak to five games. … Nashville is 6-1-1 in its past eight regular-season home games against Anaheim. Nashville coach Barry Trotz coached his 1,013th game Saturday, third among games coached with one team behind the New York Islanders’ Al Arbour and Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff.