Preds try to make up ground on NHL-best Ducks

( – After taking over first place in the Central Division,
the Nashville Predators will try to make up ground on NHL-leading Anaheim on
Sunday night when they visit the Ducks.

The Predators won for the sixth time in eight games on Saturday night, but it
was not easy as they recorded a 7-6 overtime victory after blowing a big lead.

Nashville led 5-1 at one point and was still up by three goals in the latter
stages of regulation, but Los Angeles scored three times in the final 2:01 of
the period.

The Preds escaped with the win when Roman Josi scored just 18 seconds into
overtime, taking a pass from Filip Forsberg before skating up the middle and
beating the Kings’ Martin Jones from between the circles.

“I had a lot of space and lots of time and good thing it went in,” Josi
stated. “I was a little surprised getting that much space in OT. I just walked
down the slot and tried to pick the corner.”

Forsberg’s assist on the play gave him 36 points, one shy of matching the
club’s single-season record for a rookie that was set by Alexander Radulov in

Mike Fisher, Colin Wilson, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Mark Arcobello and Olli
Jokinen also lit the lamp for the Predators, who moved a point past the
Chicago Blackhawks for the division lead despite scratching forward James Neal
and his 13 goals because of a lower-body injury.

Nashville has 53 points on the season, second-most in the Western Conference
and three back of Anaheim.

Pekka Rinne was credited with 24 saves in the rough outing and head coach
Peter Laviolette may serve well to give his No. 1 netminder a break tonight.
That could lead to Carter Hutton getting just his fifth start of the season
and first since Dec. 23.

Hutton is 0-3-1 on the season with a 2.74 goals against average and .895 save
percentage. He lost the only time he faced the Ducks, giving up four goals on
23 shots.

The Ducks have been idle since Friday, when they improved to 2-1-0 on an
eight-game homestand with a victory over the St. Louis Blues. Matt Beleskey
had the winning goal with 9:05 remaining for a 4-3 win.

Beleskey extended his career high with his team-leading 16th goal of the
season. Five of those have been game-winners, tied for the NHL lead.

Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri each scored, with Palmieri
lighting the lamp in his return from a six-game absence caused by a shoulder
injury. Sami Vatanen had two assists and Frederik Andersen made 39 saves.

“We find a way. Sometimes it doesn’t look like we deserve it, but we find a
way to win,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We know what we have to do
in the third period. We played with a lot more structure.”

Andersen is likely to start tonight and has faced the Preds twice before with
one start.

The Ducks have won five of their past six versus the Predators.