NASHVILLE -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said the leadership of captain Ryan Getzlaf has been something to behold this season.
Down 2-0 Thursday, Getzlaf scored two goals early in the second period and had the primary assist on the Ducks' third goal by Corey Perry, helping Anaheim to a 4-3 victory against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Getzlaf and Perry each rank among the NHL's top 10 goal scorers this season. Getzlaf has 22, Perry 25.
"I've only been around two-and-a-half years but it's the best I've seen from anyone that I've been associated with as far as leadership," Boudreau said. "It seems like when we're down and we're not playing well [Getzlaf] takes it upon himself to do what he does until the other guys catch up. Corey does it too. The both of them are pretty magical out there as far as tough to play against."
Speaking of magic, 43-year-old Teemu Selanne had the game-winner on the power play with 68 seconds left to complete a four-goal second period by the Ducks.
Anaheim capitalized on a penalty on Nashville wing Gabriel Bourque, who was called for holding Ben Lovejoy, with 2:53 to go. Mathieu Perreault spun down low and found Selanne on the opposite side, allowing him to deliver the puck into an open net for his fifth goal of the season.
It was Bourque's second minor of the game after he was a healthy scratch Tuesday.
The NHL-leading Ducks (33-8-5) won for the 15th time in their past 16 games. They have lost once in regulation over the past six weeks. Selanne said what he likes best is that no one on the team makes a big deal of their record.
"I haven't heard one time that somebody's going to repeat what kind of record we have or something," Selanne said. "It's not a surprise for us. Obviously, it's a good record. There's nobody satisfied about this. It's almost like feeling [we're] still waiting for playoff time. Last season, obviously, the regular season was quite, I shouldn't say easy, but we were cruising pretty much. Then [in the] playoffs we couldn't take the next step. This is the year to take the next step. …
"That's why nobody's really satisfied."
The Predators (19-20-6) are 3-2-2 in their past seven. Nashville coach Barry Trotz was upset with the way the line of Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and Eric Nystrom managed the puck. Each finished minus-3.
"I really thought we played a pretty solid game," Trotz said. "We just mismanaged it over three or four shifts against the Getzlaf-Perry line."
Stalberg threw the puck behind the net to Bourque, who sent it into the slot where Gaustad smacked it in at 1:52. It was his seventh goal of the season. Bourque got back into the lineup because right wing Patric Hornqvist was out with an upper-body injury.
The game turned early in the second. Fifty-five seconds into the period, Getzlaf scored with a wrist shot from near the left faceoff dot that beat right-handed-catching Marek Mazanec to the short side over his glove.
Getzlaf tied it at 4:36 when Nashville defenseman Shea Weber mishandled the puck and Anaheim turned it into a 3-on-2. Matt Beleskey dropped the puck for Getzlaf, who wristed home his second goal of the game.
As the Ducks strive for perfection, Getzlaf was dissatisfied with a recent pattern of Anaheim trailing early.
"In that first period, again, it's something we've got to figure out as a team and figure out how to play better in that first 10 minutes," he said. "I thought our guys did a great job in the second half of that first period, turning the momentum a little bit. Then, obviously, we came out higher in the second period. I knew we needed to get at least one for our group and that's what we try and do every night.
"Tonight we got a couple."
Rich Clune helped the Predators briefly retake the lead at 5:31. He got two swipes at a shot Smith threw at the goal from the side of the net and knocked the puck out of the air past goalie Frederik Andersen. Smith was on the ice because Matt Hendricks' skate blade fell out a few shifts earlier when he crashed into the boards and had to go for an equipment fix.
Perry tied the score at 3-3 via a breakaway. He caught Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm flat-footed in the neutral zone and Getzlaf sprung his linemate with a long pass. Perry beat Mazanec with an 18-foot wrist shot at 6:27.
Trotz said it was a play when the Fisher line needed to get the puck deep during a line change and didn't. The defense realized too late it needed to get back.
"We did it to ourselves," Weber said. "We were turning over too many pucks and … they are a skilled team. They can turn transition pucks into goals and they were able to do that tonight."
Trotz was upset with some of the penalties Nashville took. Bourque's call came deep in the offensive zone.
"I didn't like our penalties tonight," he said. "Holding calls and stuff up ice."
Nashville, which has the League's No. 7 power play, could not capitalize on two in the third period.
Andersen, playing in place of Jonas Hiller, made 23 saves; the rookie is 10-2-0. Mazanec had 24 saves.
Andersen said he could see the momentum changing in the second period. Beleskey played on the line with Getzlaf and Perry in place of injured Dustin Penner (elbow) and had two assists.
"[Getzlaf] and [Perry] and, I thought, [Beleskey] played really well with them, that line; obviously they've been great for us and we've been fortunate that they sometimes start a good comeback with good goals," Andersen said. "They kick-started the team and got everyone going."
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