NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - After five weeks off, Teemu Selanne made an instant impact in his first game back from injury.
Selanne scored after missing 17 because of a broken hand, and the Anaheim Ducks held on for a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
Anaheim, which led 3-0, received a 25-save performance from Jonas Hiller. Matt Beleskey, and Ryan Getzlaf added goals for the Ducks.
"It's important that we found a way to win, especially on the road," Hiller said. "We shouldn't have let them come back in the third, but we knew they wanted to do something."
"We were watching more than we were playing in the first two periods," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Anaheim played with patience, they didn't give us much, and they capitalized on the chances they had."
Selanne gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead at 12:10 of the first period.
From behind the Nashville net, Brett Festerling sent a pass to the low slot to Petteri Nokelainen. His shot hit off of the shaft of Selanne's stick and got past the glove of goalie Pekka Rinne.
"(Nokelainen)'s shot, I had nothing to do with it," Selanne said. "It was total luck when it hit my shaft and went in. It was a good way to start my comeback."
Beleskey doubled the Ducks lead at 5:17 of the second.
Corey Perry sent a pass from the right circle to Getzlaf in the left circle, where he slid a backhand pass to Beleskey alone in the low slot. Beleskey easily beat Rinne high to the glove side.
Beleskey has goals in his last three games.
"When you get to play with Getzlaf and Perry, you should be able to find the back of the net a few times," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.
Getzlaf gave the Ducks a 3-0 advantage at 11:26 of the second when his wrist shot from above the left circle through traffic got by Rinne on the short side.
"We showed up in the third period, but we pretty much gave away two points," Rinne said. "We can't start like this every single game."
Hornqvist's power-play goal 45 seconds into the third period was his third man-advantage tally in three games. He has 11 goals in his last 13 games.
Erat's goal with 3 minutes left cut the deficit to 3-2.
"We didn't want to give up the power-play goal and the goal late to give them the opportunity to get points, but we found a way to get it done," Carlyle said. "We'll take the two points and move on."
NOTES: Just as they did a week ago, the Ducks will follow a Saturday night game in Nashville with a Sunday night game at Chicago. ... Selanne has 20 goals and 24 assists in 37 career games against Nashville. ... Predators captain Jason Arnott missed the game because of an upper body injury. ... Nashville has allowed the first goal in its last six games, going 4-2 in that stretch.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On battling back after Anaheim took the lead…
I think we were a lot more urgent as the game went on. You always want to get a fast start at home. We were playing a very cautious and play-not-to-lose type of game. When our mindset turned to “Let’s play to win this,” we got more assertive on the puck. You can’t just play; you’ve got to engage.
We were watching more than we were playing for the first two periods.
Your team is always driven by your top guys. Early on we didn’t have a lot of guys going, and therefore not a lot happened.
We didn’t get going quickly enough. We were a little too slow out of the blocks. It’s a race – they got out of the blocks better than we did. In the end, we got nosed out.
We didn’t have the right mindset to win this hockey game.
On Anaheim’s play tonight…
[Anaheim] played with patience, they didn’t give us much and they capitalized on the chances they had.
On the return of Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne to the Ducks’ lineup…
Getzlaf is a stud of a centerman in this league. He can play it any way you want – a high-skill level or a really physical game. He makes them go, especially up front. Teemu is the fastest 39- or 40-year-old in the world. He always plays well against us. They’re a different team [when Getzlaf and Selanne are both healthy]. It gave them more balance in their lineup; you couldn’t key on one line.
Forward Martin Erat
On the slow play during the first two periods…
It felt a little strange during the first two periods. The play was pretty fast and we’ve just got to start playing better.
On not having Arnott and Ward out on the ice…
It’s always tough to produce if one of our top scorers goes down. It’s always tough to make plays but everybody just has to step up and play better for 60 minutes.
On having very little shots on goal during the first two periods…
We just didn’t put the puck on net. They stepped up on us on the blue line and put the pucks deep and we didn’t fore check.
Forward Patric Hornqvist
On having two losses in three games…
Yeah, we just talked about that. We have a quick start now that we are going on the road and we’ve got to play a full sixty minute game and if we do that then we know that it is going to be hard to beat us.
On playing hard throughout the game…
Yeah, we want to get pucks to the net; we want to start to get down low, and play hard for 60 minutes.
On going on a tough road trip…
Yeah, a big road trip in Canada. We did pretty well last time so if we can get the quick start and play for 60 minutes, I think we are going to get some points there.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On the difference between the third period and the first two…
I don’t know. I think it was the emotion level. We showed up to the third period but we pretty much gave away two points tonight. We can’t be happy and we can’t start like this every single game. We’ve been losing 1-0 at the first period many times in the last month or so. Hopefully we can change that.
On coming back in the third period…
We’ve been able to come back and we’ve shown a lot of character and a lot of confidence in the third period but tonight it wasn’t enough. Going forward, every game is going to be harder and harder. Every team wants these points so we have to pick it up.