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Preds seek fifth straight win against Ducks

by Brian Compton
DUCKS (41-27-5) at PREDATORS (39-25-10)


Last 10: Anaheim 8-2-0; Nashville 7-2-1

Season Series: This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Nashville has won two of the first three matchups, both by 4-1 scores.

Big Story: Another game, another dramatic victory for Anaheim.

Teemu Selanne erased a 3-2 deficit with 5.4 seconds remaining in regulation before Cam Fowler scored in overtime as the Ducks picked up two huge points in the standings with a 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night.

The victory gave the Ducks 87 points and sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Anaheim -- which has won three straight in overtime -- has one more point than Dallas and two more than Calgary, which lost at San Jose on Wednesday night.

"It shows the resiliency of our team and how there's no quit no matter what the circumstances are," Fowler said. "You can always rely on some of the veterans to step up when the game is on the line. Teemu did that for us. Bobby (Ryan) gave me a great pass in overtime. I didn't really have much work left to do. You put the game on those guys' sticks and 99 percent of the time, they're going to come up with a result for you."

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim had a reason to celebrate before and after Wednesday's game. Just as important as their come-from-behind victory, the Ducks learned earlier in the day that Jonas Hiller has been cleared to return to action. The Swiss goaltender was activated off the injured reserve list and could get the start in Nashville on Thursday night.

Hiller has appeared in only one game — a 4-0 shutout of the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 13 — since the symptoms of lightheadedness and dizziness surfaced on Feb. 2 against San Jose. He was pulled after playing 11 minutes and allowing three goals to the Sharks.

"At this point, I think I'm pretty close to be playing," Hiller told the Ocean County Register. "I don't want to over-do it. At some point, I'll have to try it. If it goes the way it's gone in practice, I'm not worried.”

Predators: Winners of four straight game, Nashville enters Thursday's action in seventh place in the West, just one point ahead of Anaheim. The Predators made it four in a row on Tuesday night when they earned a 3-1 victory against Edmonton at Bridgestone Arena. It was the first of a four-game homestand for Nashville.

"Our guys ramped it up early and were able to capitalize," Preds coach Barry Trotz said. "We got away from it a little bit in the second, but we put it back together in the third. We managed the game all right and we won. That is what you want to do."

Who's Hot: Ducks forward Corey Perry scored his 40th goal of the season Wednesday night. He has 4 goals in his last 3 games. Ray Emery has won each of his three starts for Anaheim and has a 1.51 goals-against average and .949 save percentage. … Preds forward Martin Erat has goals in back-to-back games and 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in his last 10 contests. David Legwand has a four-game point streak, with 3 goals and 3 assists during that span.

Injury Report: Nashville will be without Steve Sullivan (groin), Marcel Goc (shoulder), Francis Bouillon (concussion), Cal O'Reilly (leg) and Matthew Lombardi (concussion).

Stat Pack: Selanne's last 3 goals and 4 of his last 8 have come in last 2:07 of regulation and all tied the game.

Puck Drop: "We've had a lot of dramatic situations for our hockey club and tonight was another example of guys reaching back. Everyone's pretty much dead at that point in the game. This group doesn't think that we're ever out of a hockey game and they've shown a tremendous amount of resiliency to rally around one another." -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle after Wednesday's OT win at Dallas
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