NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Anaheim Ducks got off to a slow start falling behind 2-0 in the first period. Ryan Getzlaf certainly got them started in the second.
Getzlaf scored the first two goals in the second, and Teemu Selanne scored the go-ahead goal late in the period as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 Thursday night.
Selanne’s fifth goal this season came on the power play at 18:52 of the second, capping a four-goal period for the Ducks. Getzlaf also had an assist on Corey Perry’s goal. Matt Beleskey had two assists.
“It seems like when we’re down and we’re not playing well, he takes it upon himself to do what he does until the other guys catch up,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said of Getzlaf. “And Corey does it too. Both of those guys are pretty magical as far as being tough to play against.
The Ducks started a two-game road trip winning their fifth straight and 15th in 16 games. Getzlaf, who now has a team-high 52 points, said they have to figure out how to play better in the first 10 minutes of games.
“I thought our guys did a great job in that second half of that first period turning the momentum a little bit and obviously, we came out on fire in the second,” Getzlaf said. “I knew we needed to get at least one for our group. That’s what we try to do every night, and tonight we got a couple.”
Paul Gaustad, Craig Smith and Rich Clune scored a goal each for Nashville, and Matt Cullen had two assists. But the Predators lost for only the second time in regulation when scoring first, and it was their first loss when scoring at least three goals.
“At the end of the day, you look at the score sheet and it’s Getzlaf, Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “I thought we played a pretty solid game but just mismanaged three or four shifts in the Getzlaf-Perry line.”
Anaheim started a two-game road trip a bit sluggish as the Predators opened by quickly scoring twice. Gaustad scored 200th NHL point with his seventh goal this season at 1:52 on a wrister, and Smith got his 13th at 2:22 off a 2-on-1 with a nice pass from Kevin Klein.
The Ducks came out ready to play in the second when they outshot Nashville 17-8.
Perry tied it up with his own quick goals early in the second period. He got his first 55 seconds into the second on a wrister and beat Nashville goalie Marek Mazanec’s glove again at 4:36 with another wrist shot. Clune put Nashville ahead 3-2 when he swatted the puck out of the air past Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen at 5:31 off a pass from Smith.
But Perry answered almost immediately beating Mazanec glove-side with a wrister at 6:27. Gabriel Bourque went to the box for holding Ducks defenceman Ben Lovejoy at 17:07, and Selanne scored on a snap shot at 18:52 off an assist from Patrick Maroon giving the Ducks their first lead of the game.
“When you don’t get as many chances as you are used to in your career, when those chances come you have to take advantage of them,” Selanne said.
The Predators had the man advantage twice in the third and couldn’t beat Andersen. Mazanec at least kept them close when he stopped Ducks centre Daniel Winnik on a breakaway with a pad save in the first seconds of the second power play. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau took his timeout with Nashville outshooting Anaheim 9-5 at the time and 12-4 for the period.
Gaustad hit the side of the net on a chance with 5:19 left, and Andersen held off a flurry of shots in the final 95 seconds after Nashville pulled Mazanec.
NOTES: Anaheim improved to 23-1-2 when leading after the second period. … The Predators are 16-2-4 when scoring first and 17-1-4 when scoring at least three goals. … Perry has goals in three straight games. … Ducks F Dustin Penner missed his second straight game with an upper body injury. … Anaheim now has won seven of its last eight road games. … The Predators brought back F Filip Forsberg to the active roster Thursday after he was named MVP at the IIHF World Junior Championships with Sweden.