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Second period sinks Preds in Anaheim

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

Joffrey Lupul vs. Tomas Vokoun
Photo by Debora Robinson / Mighty Ducks
Goaltender Tomas Vokoun extends in an attempt to prevent Anaheim's Joffrey Lupul from scoring.
Steve Sullivan gave the Nashville Predators an early 1-0 lead Friday night in Anaheim, but the Mighty Ducks responded with one goal late in the first period and four more in the second to build a lead that Nashville could not overcome in a 6-3 loss at Arrowhead Pond. Adam Hall and Jordin Tootoo added third period tallies for the Predators, who had a five-game winning streak snapped on the second stop of a four-game road trip. Nashville, now 8-1-2 in its last 11 and 42-20-8 for the season, will jump right back into action Saturday night with a 9:30 p.m. CT match-up against the Kings in Los Angeles.

The Predators outshot the Ducks 39-30 for the game, but allowed four goals on 13 Anaheim shots in the middle period. That prompted the coaching staff to insert goaltender Chris Mason at the beginning of the third in relief of starter Tomas Vokoun.

The game started well for the Predators, who outplayed Anaheim in the first and outshot the home club 16-8. Sullivan opened the scoring at 6:35, on a play that originated when Mike Sillinger blocked a pass in the Nashville zone with his skates. Sillinger spotted Sullivan breaking up the ice and fed a pass to Sullivan in the center circle. That sent the speedy winger in alone on Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and Sullivan released a wrister from between the hashmarks that beat Giguere high to the glove side.

Nashville peppered the Anaheim netminder with numerous chances, many of which centered on Predators forward Paul Kariya. The former Mighty Duck showed considerable jump in the familiar confines of Arrowhead Pond, and he clicked with Tootoo and Sillinger to generate prime scoring opportunities as the first period unfolded. With nearly 15:00 gone, Sillinger made a nice pass inside the Ducks' blue line to send Kariya in alone. Nashville's leading scorer went to the backhand but failed to get enough lift on the puck to raise it over the pad of Giguere.

Three successive penalties--two calls against the Predators sandwiching an Anaheim infraction--put the Mighty Ducks up four men to three at 17:31, and it took just 11 seconds for Teemu Selanne to capitalize on the power play. He accepted a pass at the left edge of the Nashville blue line, skated in from left wing, then released a shot from the face-off dot that beat Vokoun to the far side. The goal, scored at 17:42, sent the teams into the first intermission knotted at 1-1.

The Mighty Ducks' hot power play struck again 1:48 into the second period to give Anaheim the lead. With Brendan Witt in the penalty box for tripping, forward Ryan Getzlaf made an impressive coast-to-coast rush before kicking off a tic-tac-toe passing play in Nashville's zone that resulted in a tally for Chris Kunitz. The Predators were unable to capitalize on a four-minute man advantage that followed soon after, but Nashville's penalty killers later negated a frustration penalty taken by Scott Hartnell when he slammed his stick against the glass after a disputable offside call.

Throughout the second period, the Predators were lacking the determination exhibited in the first, and Anaheim netted two goals in a 25-second span to pull away. Selanne beat Vokoun through the five-hole at 12:14, then Corey Perry tucked in a wraparound attempt at 12:39 to make it a 4-1 game. Then, with less than 2:00 remaining before the intermission, an innocent looking two-on-two rush by Anaheim became a breakaway for Todd Fedoruk when he cut through the defense and took a pass from Selanne. Vokoun stopped Fedoruk's backhand attempt, but Andy McDonald followed and deposited the rebound for a 5-1 lead.

Mason replaced Vokoun to start the third, and the Predators exhibited more passion than they had in the second. Nashville had a goal waved off 4:01 into the final frame when Scott Hartnell kicked in the rebound of Brendan Witt's one-timer from the right point. The visitors did cut into the margin at the 8:29 mark while skating on their fifth power play of the night. Defenseman Marek Zidlicky, at the top of the left face-off circle in Anaheim's zone, centered to Hall as he cut into the slot. His backhander from between the hashmarks sailed by Giguere to make it 5-2.

The Predators were given another power play opportunity at 11:17, but were unable to capitalize during the two minutes. Afterward, Mason made impressive stops on Kunitz and Francois Beauchemin, but a high-sticking penalty on Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter put Anaheim's power play back to work. McDonald's stiff backhander from left of the crease was partially stopped by Mason, but it deflected into the net to restore the Ducks' four-goal lead at 16:22.

With less than a minute remaining in the contest, the Predators line of Tootoo, Scott Nichol and Darcy Hordichuk was still hard at work. The dogged determination paid off at 19:27, when Tootoo sent the puck from the left boards to Witt for a one-timer, then retrieved the blocked shot and fired a forehander from between the circles. With Hordichuk providing a screen in front of Giguere, the puck found the back of the net and gave the Predators their third tally of the game.

Notes: Steve Sullivan scored a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to nine games. That establishes a new Predators franchise record and a career high for Sullivan for consecutive games with at least a point... Mike Sillinger registered his 29th assist of the season on Sullivan's goal. He now has 10 points over his last 11 contests... Adam Hall's goal was his second in five games and his 13th on the season. Ten of Hall's 13 goals have been scored on the power play... Marek Zidlicky's assist on Hall's goal extends his assist streak to four games... Jordin Tootoo scored his fourth goal of the season, which matches his career high. He has four points (2g-2a) in his last six games... Brendan Witt posted an assist on Tootoo's goal for his second helper as a Predator. The assist gives Witt a new career high for points in a season with 13 (his previous best was 12 set in 2003-04 with Washington)... Dan Hamhuis also assisted on Tootoo's goal and has five points in his last six games (1g-4a)... Nashville is now 10-9 in three-goal games... The Predators held the advantage in the face-off circle, winning 62 percent of the draws. Sillinger led the way by going 18-for-24 (75 percent)... David Legwand and Vern Fiddler were scratched for the Predators... Attendance at Arrowhead Pond was 16,377.

Video: Watch the game highlights (1:35)

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