NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -The Nashville Predators and the Anaheim Ducks have been fighting for supremacy in the Western Conference for most of the season.
The Predators continued to pad their lead in the West, shutting down the Ducks 3-0 Saturday night. It was the Predators' second straight win over Anaheim and their first regulation win against the Ducks since Oct. 9, 2003.
"I think both teams are similar in a lot of ways," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We both have the ability to skate, to create off the rush and the transition and we both have good goaltending.
"I think our defense many be a little deeper, but we don't have two studs like Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger who have loads of experience. Once they get Niedermayer back in there it will probably give them the edge up front with their top four just on experience."
Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun made 36 saves for his third shutout of the season and 19th overall. Vokoun stopped short of calling it his best outing since returning from a thumb injury Jan. 9.
"I'm getting there," Vokoun said. "Getting a shutout is a good thing. Our guys played smart defensively. They took a lot of shots, but most of them were from the outside. We had 20 shots, but we probably had more quality scoring chances than they did."
Vokoun started despite dealing with a flu bug that has been biting several members of the team.
"I'm not worried about whether I am feeling great or not," Vokoun said. "You can hear it in my voice. It is a work in progress. Some nights you don't feel good and you win the game. Sometimes you feel pretty good and you lose."
Jason Arnott scored a power-play goal and added an assist on Steve Sullivan's power-play goal. Dan Hamhuis scored the other goal for the Predators.
Hamhuis scored at 4:52 of the first period. He fired a slap shot from the left point that bounced off of Anaheim's Teemu Selanne and over goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere's shoulder.
Arnott scored 56 seconds into the second period. Kimmo Timonen, skating high in the slot, hit Arnott with a pass and he hammered a one-timer past Giguere from the left faceoff circle.
With 12 seconds left in the game, Sullivan struck on a 5-on-3 power play. Sullivan shoved the puck past Giguere in heavy traffic in front of the net.
"The puck wasn't rolling our way," Giguere said. "It didn't seem like we had the energy we usually have. It was frustrating game."
The game was a physical one with Nashville's Kimmo Timonen one target for Anaheim. Tempers flared in the final couple of minutes with Sean O'Donnell and Travis Moen of Anaheim both earning fighting majors and game misconducts at 18:39.
Nashville's Shea Weber was given a fighting major and a game misconduct for his part in the fighting. Nashville's Scott Hartnell received a fighting major in the melee and Darcy Hordihcuk was hit with a 10-minute misconduct.
"That's hockey," Arnott said. "You play a team like Anaheim, a playoff competitive team, and it is going to get rough out there. Frustrations are high when a team is down 2-0. Our guys stuck together. That's what you have to do."
Notes: The game was the Predators' first at home since the All-Star break. ... Arnott, who became the first Predators player to reach 20 goals this season, has a goal in each of his last four games and is on a seven-game points streak (four goals, five assists). ... Giguere had given up only two goals in his previous two games since the All-Star break.
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