The acquisition of Peter Forsberg has helped the Nashville Predators surge back to the top of the Western Conference.
The Predators look to create some space between themselves and the rest of the West when they visit the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Nashville (43-18-4) beat Los Angeles 6-3 on Saturday to move two points ahead of Detroit for first place in both the Central Division and the conference. The Predators have won four straight games, a run which started Feb. 24 with a 4-3 home victory over the Red Wings.
Forsberg, acquired from Philadelphia on Feb. 15, had three assists in Saturday's victory. He has a goal and five assists in his last four games - including the game-winning overtime score against Detroit - after failing to record a point in his first three games with the Predators.
Nashville, which is playing the fourth of a five-game road trip, is 5-1-1 since picking up the veteran center.
"A year ago, would you ever think that Peter Forsberg would be available at the trade deadline? I wouldn't, and I don't think too many people around the league would think that," said Predators forward Paul Kariya, whose two goals Saturday came on assists from Forsberg. "He's the ultimate professional and he makes players around him better. There's no higher a compliment that you can give a player than that. I've never seen him take a shift off."
Kariya, who spent the first nine seasons of his career in Anaheim and is the Ducks' all-time leader with 669 points, has five goals and an assist in his last four games. He has two goals and four assists in nine career games against his former club, which he left before the 2003-04 season.
Two of Forsberg's assists Saturday came on power-play goals. The Predators went 3-for-7 with the man advantage, and are 6-for-17 in their last three games.
Anaheim (38-17-11), meanwhile, is 3-0-1 in its last four games and coming off Friday's 3-1 win over San Jose. Dustin Penner scored his fourth goal in the last three games, extending his team rookie record to 23 on the season.
"When you get more ice time, you get more confidence and it's kind of a snowball effect," Penner said. "Our line now has more onuses to contribute and score goals night in and night out. Management has shown this is the team they want for the playoffs, and that's a big boost for us."
The Ducks, who lead the Pacific by six points over second-place Dallas, are in third place in the Western Conference, five points behind Nashville and three back of Detroit.
Friday's contest opened an eight-game homestand that matches the longest in team history. Anaheim improved to 20-5-7 at the Honda Center.
"Tonight it was a really good effort by everybody," Ducks forward Teemu Selanne said. "When this team plays with passion, we're a very good hockey team."
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