ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)Tommy Novak and the Nashville Predators needed to go beyond regulation for the second straight night, but they were able to cap off a successful road trip with a win.
Novak had two goals, including the game-winner at 1:12 of overtime, as the Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 on Sunday night.
Novak, who also had an assist, scored his 12th goal of the season and third in two nights when he got the pass from Philip Tomasino and beat John Gibson on an odd-man rush with a wrist shot.
“It went back and forth a couple times with odd-man rushes. (Tomasino) found me and I pretty much had an open net,” said Novak, who had the first OT goal of his career. “It was a good play by him and glad we got the win.”
Novak, who also had a first-period goal to give the Predators a 2-0 advantage, has 16 points in his last 12 games (eight goals, eight assists), including five multi-point efforts.
Nashville earned points in five of the six games on its road trip and is five points behind Colorado for the final wild card in the Western Conference.
“I give our guys a lot of credit, it’s been a long trip and a lot of different time zones,” coach John Hynes said. “We knew we had to be able to dig deep, obviously playing back to back against a rested team. Anaheim made a good push to tie the game. But I thought as the game went on, we dug deep and found a way to win.”
Tomasino, Kiefer Sherwood and Yakov Trenin also scored for Nashville. Roman Josi and Colton Sissons both had two assists and Juuse Saros made 33 saves.
Mason McTavish had two goals for Anaheim, which rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits but was unable to get the win. Frank Vatrano and Troy Terry also scored while Cam Fowler had three assists. Gibson finished with 31 saves.
“At this point of the season and where we’re at in the standings, I think it would be really easy to just watch a team mail it in, and our guys refuse to do it,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “We get down in a game like that against a very desperate team and we’ve still got our foot on the pedal.”
Anaheim trailed 4-2 with three minutes remaining before forcing overtime. Terry scored his 19th on a shot from the right faceoff circle to bring the Ducks within a goal with 2:21 remaining.
McTavish then evened it with 34 seconds left with a rebound in front of the net. It was McTavish’s 16th of the season and his eighth point in the last seven games (three goals, five assists).
McTavish started the Ducks’ rally with 4:16 left in the first with a snap shot from the right faceoff circle and Vatrano tied it 2-2 at 4:46 of the the second.
Nashville’s special teams remained hot with its 11th power-play goal since Feb. 18.
Tomasino’s goal midway through the first period came on a shot from the left faceoff circle that went in off the far post.
The Predators have scored on 11 of 31 opportunities with the man advantage in their past 12 games. The 35.5% conversion rate during that span leads the league.
Josi became the fifth active defenseman to record at least six 40-assist seasons, joining San Jose’s Erik Karlsson (eight times) and Carolina’s Brent Burns, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, who have also done it six times.
Sherwood gave Nashville a 3-2 lead 1:47 into the third period when he banked a wrist shot from behind the goal line off Gibson’s back and into the short side of the net.
Sherwood took a between-the-legs pass from Novak and skated behind the goal line, before finding a small opening between Gibson’s back and the short side of the net for his second goal of the season.
“I tried to hit him (Novak) back-door because I thought he was open, but it was just a fortunate bounce that we got,” Sherwood said.
Predators: Face Detroit on Tuesday to open a three-game homestand.
Ducks: Host the New York Islanders on Wednesday.
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