Right wing Jeff Nielsen had the first two-goal game of his NHL career to lead the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Friday night.
The victory was Anaheim's sixth straight, the Mighty Ducks' longest winning streak since they won six in a row from March 8-22, 1996. It was also the Ducks' 12th victory in their last 15 games and put them at four games above .500 (29-25-9) for the first time in the six-year history of the franchise.
Anaheim moved within three points of Phoenix in the battle for fourth place in the Western Conference. The Coyotes lost to Detroit 7-2.
Nielsen, who had scored his only goal of the season on Dec. 22, scored Anaheim's first and an insurance goal as the Mighty Ducks beat the expansion Predators for only the second time in four meetings.
Neilsen scored his first of the night when he beat Mike Dunham with a 20-foot slap shot at 12:54 of the first period.
Teemu Selanne gave Anaheim a two-goal lead on a power play with 26 seconds remaining in the first. Selanne scored his 36th on a 25-foot slap shot to tie his own club-record 15-game points streak. Selanne also extended his goal streak to eight games, the longest in the NHL this season.
Nashville cut the lead to 2-1 at 11:50 of the second period on a breakaway by Tom Fitzgerald. The Predators' center wound up beating Anaheim goalie Dominic Roussel on a 15-footer.
Nielsen scored the clinching goal at 9:03 of the third period on another breakaway. Set up by right wing Jim McKenzie's pass, Nielsen skated down the left side and scored on a 30-foot wrist shot that beat Dunham high on the stick side.
Center Cliff Ronning scored Nashville's second goal on a power play on a 15-foot wrist shot with 11 seconds remaining.
Roussel, a former Predator, stopped 23 shots to earn his fourth victory.
Nashville, coming off a 4-3 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday, felto 3-4-1 in its last eight games.
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