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Ducks defeat Predators for first in standings

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com

NASHVILLE -- Jakob Silfverberg scored two goals and Frederik Andersen made 44 saves to help the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-2 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Anaheim (34-12-6) surpassed Nashville (33-12-6) for first place in the NHL and did so without forward Ryan Getzlaf, who was a late scratch after sustaining a lower-body injury in warm-ups. Getzlaf is listed as day-to-day.

Nashville lost for the first time at home since Dec. 6 against the Chicago Blackhawks (3-1). The Predators are 20-3-1 here.

"It's a very tough building to win in, especially losing Getzlaf real close to the game," Silfverberg said. "It's obviously tough, but we've proven it before that other guys will have to step up if we lose some of our key guys, and I think a lot of guys showed up tonight and played really well. Winning here is tough and we managed to do it tonight."

Andersen won his 29th game, tied with Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne for the most in the NHL.

"It's pretty nice to win against a good team," Andersen said. "We started our road trip off with a good win, even though I don't think we played the way we wanted to in the first and in the third. We'll take those bounces in the first and get that good win. That's how it is on the road sometimes. You've got to weather the storm a little bit and get a couple of lucky bounces like we did in the first."

Silfverberg gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead 3:08 into the first period while shorthanded. He was able to retrieve his rebound and backhand it past Rinne.

"I saw that Shea [Weber, Nashville defenseman] wasn't quite ready for the puck, and I saw an opportunity to just poke-check it and it turned out good," Silfverberg said.

Sami Vatanen gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead at 13:04 of the first. He took a pass from defense partner Clayton Stoner and his shot deflected off Nashville forward Gabriel Bourque into the net.

Matt Beleskey gave the Ducks a 3-0 lead at 3:51 of the second period. He one-timed a pass from Rickard Rakell from the slot past Rinne for his 20th goal of the season.

"It's always fun scoring goals," Beleskey said. "To get to that 20 mark, it's a nice benchmark, but hopefully I can keep going."

Silfverberg scored his second goal to give Anaheim a 4-0 lead at 4:34 of the second. Defenseman Cam Fowler took a shot that Silfverberg was able to redirect past Rinne for his eighth goal of the season.

"Obviously when you score and you tip the puck, it has little luck too," Silfverberg said. "You've got to get those bounces, and I think the second one might have even went post and in. It's a bit of luck, but also I hope it's a bit of skill in there too. It felt good to get two tonight."

Nashville forward Colin Wilson scored to make it 4-1 at 4:00 of the third period. Defenseman Victor Bartley took the original shot, and Wilson was able to put the rebound past Andersen for his 17th goal of the season, a new career high.

Predators forward James Neal made it 4-2 with a power-play goal with 4:07 remaining. Neal took a pass from forward Filip Forsberg and beat Andersen through the five-hole for his 17th goal of the season.

Corey Perry scored an empty-net goal with 1:19 remaining.

Nashville outshot Anaheim 24-2 in the third period.

"That's how it goes when you're up 4-0," Andersen said. "They kind of throw the whole kitchen sink at you and try to make something happen. I think we did a good job just standing tall and got the win."

Rinne started for the Predators for the first time after missing eight games with a sprained knee. He made 21 saves on 25 shots and is 29-7-2.

"I think coming into the game, you want to get in there and do great things," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think there was a lot of tough bounces for him that happened right away. There's two redirect goals out there tonight where it hits something, completely changes direction and then banks in off of a post and in the net. [Rinne] did a lot of great things out there tonight too. He made some terrific saves."

Getzlaf's status for Anaheim's game against the Washington Capitals on Friday is unknown.

"It's a lower-body injury," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's all I'm saying right now. It's day-to-day, and we'll probably know more before we hit Tampa [Bay on Feb. 8] anyway. I don't even know if he can play [Friday], but he's coming to Washington with us."

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