Ducks boost playoff hopes with SO win
Teemu Selanne lifted the Anaheim Ducks to a crucial win over the Nashville Predators for the second time in a week.
Selanne scored the only shootout goal and the Ducks beat the Predators 2-1 on Tuesday night to move into a position for a postseason berth.
Anaheim climbed over Nashville into eighth place in the Western Conference with its fourth consecutive victory. Both teams have 78 points with nine games left but the Ducks are now above the postseason cutoff because they have one more victory than the Predators, who have lost three straight.
Anaheim's winning streak started when Selanne scored a power-play goal in overtime to give the Ducks a 4-3 win last Wednesday.
After the first three players for both teams were denied on their shootout attempts, Selanne skated in on goaltender Pekka Rinne and lifted a backhander just under the crossbar.
"He's so big that when he goes down, he can cover the whole bottom of the net from post-to-post," Selanne said of Rinne, a fellow Finn. "I had a chance to see what our three other shooters were doing, and I decided to go with that move."
Said Rinne: "He's very good at the shootout because he has good moves and fakes his shot really well. He was always my hero watching national team games. It's been nice to face him a few times."
Jean-Sebastien Giguere then stopped Nashville's Radek Bonk to seal the win for the Ducks.
"I just tried to react to what they were doing," Giguere said. "There's no way to know what they are going to do, so it is more of a guess."
Selanne also helped Anaheim grab a 1-0 lead at 17:38 of the second period. He carried the puck into the Nashville zone along the right side before faking a shot to freeze Rinne. He then passed to Drew Miller, who moved to the low slot before beating Rinne with a wrister to the stick side.
Miller's goal was his third in 18 games this season and second in his last three. The rookie has spent most of the season with Iowa of the American Hockey League.
"Points are at a premium," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "Both teams are in desperation mode, but we were fortunate enough to steal an extra point in the shootout."
Shea Weber tied it at 1 with a power-play goal at 4:12 of the third. David Legwand had the puck behind the Anaheim net, and found Weber at the right faceoff dot.
Weber became the first Nashville defenseman to score 20 goals in a season. His nine power-play goals lead the team.
Giguere finished with 31 saves. Rinne had 18 stops.
Bonk returned to the Nashville lineup after missing the last 12 games with an upper body injury. ... Selanne has 41 points in 35 career games against Nashville. ... Three of Anaheim's last four wins have come in overtime or a shootout.