The Ottawa Senators played better. They just didn't win.
The Senators started strongly and outshot the Predators 11-2 in the third period but couldn't solve Dunham.
Dunham earned his sixth win of the season.
"We got two opportunities (to score) and that was enough for us," he said. "We just kept going, we needed to be patient."
Valicevic broke a 1-1 tie late in the second period as the Predators rallied to win their second game in as many nights and halt Ottawa's three-game winning streak.
Wade Redden scored for Ottawa, which lost for just the second time in 10 home games.
"We were a little bit flat," Redden said. "We got an early goal and were playing well. Then when they scored, we lost our composure a bit. They forced us."
Ron Tugnutt stopped 21 shots and lost to Nashville for the first time in three career starts.
"We got off to a good start, (then) let them back in," Tugnutt said. "We dominated the whole third period. They played a pretty good game, but I think it's more what we didn't do."
Redden opened the scoring 1:24 into the game when he took a pass from A HREF="http://cbs.sportsline.com/u/hockey/nhl/players/19667.htm">Magnus Arvedson at the top of the left faceoff circle and beat Dunham with a low shot just inside the far post.
Nashville tied the game at 14:32 of the first on the power play after Joe Juneau was called for hooking.
The Senators were caught changing lines when Predators defenseman Kimmo Timmanen fed Johnson in full stride up the middle. Johnson beat Tugnutt to the glove side for his third goal of the season.
With less than four minutes remaining in the second, Ville Peltonen picked up a long rebound in the Ottawa zone and his wrist shot deflected off Valicevic's leg past a screened Tugnutt.
"We had come out strong," Ottawa's Rob Zamuner said. "We're going to have to work on our consistency. We're a team that's very good with a lead. It's something we're going to have to learn from our mistakes."
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