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game recap

Predators defeat Ducks for 10th straight win

Tie longest streak in NHL this season; Rinne makes 31 saves

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 for their 10th straight win at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Nashville's streak is tied for the longest in the NHL this season with the Colorado Avalanche (Dec. 29-Jan. 22).

"Everything is great about the streak, but we're focused on the process and what we need to do to be ready come playoff time," Predators forward Ryan Johansen said. "We're just taking it day by day and looking at our team game and what we can always be improving on. These wins are obviously nice as they keep coming along, too."

 

[WATCH: All Ducks vs. Predators highlights]

 

Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and an assist, and Pekka Rinne made 31 saves for Nashville (44-14-9), which leads the Western Conference with 97 points and is six ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for first in the Central Division.

Video: ANA@NSH: Arvidsson pots wicked wrister on two-on-one

Rinne is 18-1-1 with a 2.03 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in his past 20 starts.

Rickard Rakell scored twice, and John Gibson made 24 saves for Anaheim (34-22-12), which is 7-2-1 in its past 10 games and trails the San Jose Sharks by one point for second place in the Pacific Division.

"We've got to be harder on the puck," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We've got to win more 50-50 battles. It showed in our face-off prowess. They were much better than we were. I think we had one guy that was over 50 percent. All those little games within the game, you've got to be better at. It's not like we didn't compete, we just didn't play at the level that we're capable of playing."

Craig Smith gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 5:26 of the first period on a wrist shot on the rush.

Video: ANA@NSH: Smith shows off hands for sweet goal

Johansen extended the lead to 2-0 at 15:10 on a redirection in front. Filip Forsberg made a backhand pass to the right post, where Johansen tipped it past Gibson.

Johansen and Ducks center Ryan Kesler fought in the second period. It was the first game between them since their contentious Western Conference Final last season. Kesler missed the first 37 games of the season recovering from hip surgery.

"This is a really special game for [Johansen] as well," Forsberg said. "Obviously we all know the history that has been going on, and he just keeps showing everyone how good he is."

Austin Watson made it 3-0 at 18:42 of the second period with a shorthanded goal. Gibson stopped Colton Sissons on a breakaway, but Watson scored on the rebound.

"Those penalty killers get an opportunity every once in a while," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "Power plays are usually stationary and standing, and if you can catch a pop or you can catch them on a rush where you defend the rush like Ryan Ellis did, you stop it and you can get guys breaking the other way, you've got a lot of guys going [one] way. If you can turn it over and send our guys the other way, you've got a chance of making something happen."

Rakell scored to make it 3-1 at 6:04 of the third period on a one-timer. Corey Perry faked a slap shot and passed to Rakell, who beat Rinne from in front.

Video: ANA@NSH: Rakell, Perry combine for beautiful goal

Rakell cut it to 3-2 at 16:35 on a one-timer from the slot off a pass from Ryan Getzlaf.

Arvidsson scored to give Nashville a 4-2 lead at 18:14 off a cross-ice pass from Forsberg.

"Great team over there," Johansen said. "I expect to see them in the playoffs again for sure. Nice to get the advantage on them again tonight and keep our streak going."

Video: ANA@NSH: Rakell buries Getzlaf's feed for second goal

 

Goal of the game

Watson's goal at 18:42 of the second period.

Video: ANA@NSH: Watson cashes in on turnover for SHG

 

Save of the game

Rinne's save on Andrew Cogliano at 18:06 of the first period.

Video: ANA@NSH: Rinne stones Cogliano's shorthanded chance

 

Highlight of the game

Johansen's goal at 15:10 of the first period.

Video: ANA@NSH: Johansen deflects home Forsberg's backhander

 

They said it

"It was a momentum changer. I thought we started to impose a little bit more will in the second period, and then we get an opportunity to make it a one-goal game. And then we give up a shorthanded goal, but it didn't deter us. It had a big effect on the game obviously, but we came back. I thought the goals that we gave up were very preventable." -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle on the shorthanded goal

 

"I think it's probably a couple of playoff series, it's playing them in the regular season. There's just a little bit of a rivalry there, I guess, with the amount of times we've played them and what's been at stake. We always know it's going to be a physical game. We always know that we've got to play tough in the battles. We talk about those things. I thought our guys did a really good job." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette on the rivalry with the Ducks

 

Need to know

Getzlaf has 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in a four-game point streak. … Arvidsson has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games.

 

What's next

Ducks: At the Dallas Stars on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, FS-W, NHL.TV)

Predators: Host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Predators top Ducks to extend win streak to 10 games

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