ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Pekka Rinne made 31 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, Shea Weber had a power-play goal and the Nashville Predators strengthened their hold on a playoff berth with a 1-0 victory over Anaheim on Friday night.
One night after giving up six goals in the third period in an 8-5 loss at San Jose, the seventh-place Predators moved two points ahead of eighth-place Calgary in the Western Conference.
Rinne, who signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract extension on Feb. 24, earned his 11th career shutout in his 100th NHL game. It was his first shutout since Feb. 2, when he lost a 1-0 decision to Phoenix following a club-record 10-round shootout.
The loss was the fifth straight for the Ducks, who are plummeting out of the playoff picture. They remain nine points out with 15 to play, after being just three points out when the Olympic break began, and have dropped four straight at Honda Center following a franchise-record 11-game home winning streak.
Jonas Hiller made 27 saves for the Ducks, 17-2-3 against Nashville at home. The only other regulation loss was on Jan. 31, 2001, when Mike Dunham made 26 saves against them in a 3-0 victory. The Ducks went into that game last in the conference and missing five regulars because of injuries.
Four minor penalties were called during a 2:23 span of the first period, three of them against Anaheim. The Ducks had exactly 6 seconds of power-play time during that stretch, and gave up the first goal of the game during Nashville's 5-on-3 advantage after Aaron Ward was sent off for interference and Ryan Getzlaf for high-sticking 17 seconds apart.
Weber, in his second game back after missing the previous two with an upper-body injury, beat Hiller high to the stick side with a one-timer from 45 feet after getting a return pass from Jason Arnott.
It was Weber's 13th goal and seventh on the power play. The Predators have scored at least one power-play goal in 12 of their last 13 games, after going 1 for 25 over their previous nine contests.
The Ducks made the playoffs in each of the previous four seasons under coach Randy Carlyle, putting on a tremendous finishing kick at the end of the regular season all four times. They finished up with a 15-7-0 surge in 2006, were 13-3-4 in 2007, 20-5-1 in 2008 and 10-2-1 last season — locking up a postseason berth on the final weekend. But there is no reason to believe that will happen this time.
NOTES: Barry Trotz, in his 11th season with the Predators, is the only coach they have ever had. The record for most consecutive seasons by an NHL coach at the beginning of a team's history is held by Lester Patrick, who guided the New York Rangers through their first 13 seasons (1926-27 to 1938-39). ... The Predators, who came in averaging a league-low 9.0 penalty minutes, have been short-handed no more than three times in any of their last seven games. The only full power play Anaheim had came after Martin Erat was sent off for tripping Matt Beleskey at 13:10 of the second period. ... The teams split the season series. Rinne and Hiller were the goalies in all four games. The last time the Predators visited Anaheim on Nov. 5, Hiller beat them 4-0 with 40 saves. ... The Ducks are 2-9-0 in the last 11 games in which they haven't scored a power play goal, and 13-2-1 in the last 16 games in which they have. ... Anaheim had at least 30 shots on net for the sixth straight game, its longest such streak this season.