A six-game stretch against California teams may end up boosting the Nashville Predators' playoff hopes. The Anaheim Ducks, meanwhile, are having problems winning in their home state.
The Predators look to continue their success against Western Conference clubs and extend the Ducks' troubles at home in a matchup of playoff contenders Wednesday night.
Nashville (35-30-5) moved into seventh place in the West with a 4-3 win over Los Angeles on Monday night in the first of six straight games against California teams. The Predators, who improved to 14-4-1 against their conference since the All-Star break, are five points ahead of 12th-place Anaheim (32-31-6).
"We want to win every night, but our mentality right now is try and scrape points out of every game that we can and be as gritty as we can be," Nashville winger Steve Sullivan said. "We wanted to propel ourselves back into the playoffs and make sure we created some separation between us and them."
The Predators are 2-0 on a four-game trip that will conclude Thursday night against San Jose. They'll then face the Ducks again Tuesday night at home before hosting San Jose and Los Angeles.
"We've got two games left on this road trip, and we're trying to set ourselves up so that it doesn't come down to Game 82 and all the pressure to try to get in with one game left," Sullivan said.
Time is running out for Anaheim, which has gone 1-3-1 after winning three of its previous four. The Ducks have lost five of their last six home games, the most recent a 1-0 defeat to the Sharks on Sunday night.
"We just have to stay confident," Anaheim winger Teemu Selanne said. "Wednesday is another chance. We just have to keep pushing like this and we're going to score a couple of goals."
The Ducks have been held to two goals or fewer in four of their last five games. They've been particularly bad on the power play during that span, going 0-for-19.
Nashville is coming off a breakout offensive effort, scoring more than two goals for only the second time in its last 18 road games (7-10-1). The Predators totaled six goals in their previous four contests overall.
Ryan Jones scored the go-ahead goal with 2:18 remaining, Sullivan and Shea Weber added goals and Joel Ward had a goal and an assist. Sullivan has eight goals and seven assists in his last 13 contests.
Weber, a defenseman, has five goals and five assists in his last 12 games. He has a career-high 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) on the season.
Weber, though, has not scored in nine games versus the Ducks. He had two assists for his first career points against Anaheim in Nashville's 4-3 overtime win Nov. 14, which snapped a six-game road losing streak to the Ducks.
The Predators won their only other meeting with Anaheim this season 4-2 on Feb. 5.