After starting off slowly following some offseason roster moves, the Nashville Predators appear to be finding a groove.
James Neal scored twice and Pekka Rinne stopped 27 shots for his 41st career shutout in the Predators' 5-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Filip Forsberg also scored for the Predators, who won their third straight and improved to 4-0-2 in their last six. Rinne's shutout was his third this season.
"I think every year the seats get rearranged a little bit on the boat and you've got to figure out where your seat is and what's expected of you," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "There's definitely a little transition that we went through. I wish we handled it a little better and didn't get into that spot, but I think guys are scoring goals, too, now and they're getting a little bit of confidence on the ice."
Ducks goalie John Gibson gave up four goals on 18 shots before he was replaced late in the third period by Jonathan Bernier, who stopped eight of the nine shots he faced.
The first two games in the teams' season series have both been decided by five-goal margins, including Anaheim's 6-1 win on Oct. 26 at home.
"I got pulled in that game and it wasn't a great effort by us so it was nice to get this one," Rinne said. "This home stretch has been really good for me and my teammates. Hopefully. we can keep it going."
Ellis gave Nashville a 1-0 lead with a snap shot from the low slot, beating Gibson high to the glove side with 2.4 seconds left in the first period. Filip Forsberg got his team-leading 10th assist on the play with a pass from behind the net.
Nashville killed a four-minute double minor when P.K. Subban got called for high sticking early in the second period.
Rinne made a diving save with his arm to stop Ryan Kesler in the crease.
The Predators increased the lead to 2-0 when Neal fired a wrist shot through traffic with 7:47 left in the second after Arvidsson won a faceoff and dropped a pass back to him. That gave Neal a goal in four straight.
"We have a lot of new guys in a lot of different roles, but we felt like if we just did the right things it would come and it has," Neal said.
Arvidsson also set up the next goal when he slid a pass from behind the net to Sissons, who fired a laser into the top right corner with 4:07 left in the period.
Nashville scored again 67 seconds later when Forsberg's first goal of the season, a wrist shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle, made it 4-0 lead.
That chased Gibson and brought in Bernier.
Neal's power-play goal increased Nashville's lead to 5-0 at 6:06 of the third period. It was his sixth goal and tied him with Forsberg for the team lead with 10 points.
NOTES: Ryan Getzlaf, the Ducks' career assists leader (532), played in his 800th game with Anaheim. ... Nashville hosted Anaheim for the first time since edging the Ducks in a seven-game Western Conference quarterfinal last season. ... Neal's goal-scoring streak is his longest since a five-game run Feb. 3-March 1 in 2014.
Ducks: Host Edmonton on Tuesday night in the opener of a five-game homestand.
Predators: At Toronto on Tuesday night to start a three-game road swing.