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Ducks defeat Predators to end five-game skid

by Abbey Mastracco / NHL.com

ANAHEIM -- Chris Stewart had a goal and two assists to help the Anaheim Ducks end their five-game losing streak with a 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators at Honda Center on Sunday.

"We kept battling," said Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen, who made 40 saves to earn his first win of the season. "We came out hard and worked for each other. We got some bounces our way and pucks started going in. Even when they scored their goals, we kept going. We didn't sit back and feel sorry for ourselves."

The Predators (7-2-2) entered as the only team in the NHL that had not allowed a goal in the first period, but the Ducks (2-7-2) needed little more than a minute to get on the scoreboard and were able to pad their lead before the period ended.

Rickard Rakell scored his second goal on a backhand shot at 1:11 to put Anaheim up 1-0.

Sami Vatanen and Andrew Cogliano then scored 12 seconds apart to give Anaheim a 3-0 lead. Vatanen sent a high slap shot over Nashville goalie Carter Hutton at 11:08 for his second goal. Cogliano scored his first goal of the season when he beat Hutton to the blocker side at 11:20 after the Predators turned over the puck in the neutral zone.

The two goals were the fastest for the Ducks since January 19, 2013, when they scored two in 11 seconds against the Vancouver Canucks.

"We had a lot of energy to start the game," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They came out and Freddie made three really great saves in the first two minutes. Rakell had a really nice goal. We came right back. [Cogliano] had a chance and he scored, which I thought was great."

Nashville defenseman Shea Weber beat Andersen with a slap shot from the point on a 4-on-3 power play in the second period to pull the Predators within two goals.

The goal brought to mind the 3-0 lead the Ducks couldn't protect against the Dallas Stars last Tuesday.

"We've been talking about letdowns and when we're having trouble winning games," Rakell said. "In Dallas we were up 3-0, and it's hard not to think about that when you're up 3-0 and then they get on the board."

Boudreau said the Ducks called on that experience in Dallas in the third period. They pushed the Predators out to the perimeter and effectively limited their scoring chances, holding them to eight shots.

"I thought we bent in the second period, but I thought in the third period, defensively, we were much better," Boudreau said. "We were keeping them to the outside a lot, and that's a very good hockey club and it's tough to do, but I thought we did a good job in the third."

Stewart scored his first goal with the Ducks at 11:00 of the second period, beating Hutton off the rebound to put Anaheim up 4-1.

Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok cut the deficit to 4-2 at 12:59 of the second. He beat Andersen with a snap shot from the slot for his second goal, but Nashville couldn't get another one past the Anaheim goalie.

Nashville coach Peter Laviolette credited Andersen for his performance against what he felt was a good effort from the Predators.

"Our guys played hard," Laviolette said. "I've told the guys that I've been in games where the first 10 minutes you're down 3-0 because you forgot to come out of the locker room. That wasn't the case tonight. Our guys played hard from start to finish, and their goaltender played well. They were opportunistic, they came out hungry, and I thought our guys played a hard game for 60 minutes."

Anaheim left wing Jiri Sekac left the game after taking a hit in front of the benches late in the second period. He did not return because of a lower-body injury, the Ducks said. Boudreau had no update following the game.

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