NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – The Nashville Predators have been playing better recently, yet have only a couple of hard-fought points to show for their work.
The effort paid off once they got back home.
Mattias Ekholm’s first NHL goal proved to be the game winner as the Predators beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on Tuesday night for their first victory in four games.
David Legwand had a goal and an assist, and Shea Weber added two assists for the Predators, who have earned points in five of six games.
“It was good the guys got rewarded,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “We had a good game plan going in. We stayed with it and converted on a couple chances. Five-on-five I think we outscored them 3-1.”
Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau scored for San Jose, which has lost two of three.
Nashville returned home from a trip in which the Predators lost all three games despite going to overtime twice.
Nashville took control against the Sharks, scoring three goals in the second period.
The Predatores are undefeated in regulation this season when scoring at least three times. They took a 1-0 lead when Legwand scored his seventh of the season with a wrist shot from the right circle at 3:35.
Ekholm was called for his second delay of game penalty in two games when he put the puck over the glass. The Sharks took advantage to tie it when Pavelski tipped in a shot from Dan Boyle at 6:49.
Ekholm made up for his penalty just 27 seconds later when he whirled and flipped the puck past goalie Antti Niemi to put Nashville back ahead 2-1.
“It’s really nice to see him get his first goal and respond the way he did,” Trotz said.
Ducks 5, Bruins 2
In Anaheim, Mathieu Perreault scored two goals, Jonas Hiller made 30 saves in his 12th consecutive victory and the Ducks beat Boston for its their 14th win in 15 games.
Perreault, Corey Perry and Nick Bonino scored power-play goals for NHL-leading Anaheim, which improved to 18-0-2 at home.
Andrew Cogliano scored short-handed during the Ducks’ three-goal second period. Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne added two assists apiece in Anaheim’s eighth consecutive win at Honda Center, matching its 8-0 streak to open the season.
Penguins 5, Canucks 4 (SO)
In Vancouver, Sidney Crosby tied the score with 55 seconds left in regulation and added the only goal in a shootout to rally Pittsburgh past the slumping hosts.
Crosby and Kris Letang scored 16 seconds apart late in the third period to tie it for the Penguins after the Canucks grabbed a 4-2 lead.
Flyers 3, Devils 2 (OT)
In Newark, New Jersey, Brayden Schenn scored at 1:50 of overtime and Philadelphia beat the Devils after giving up a late short-handed goal that forced the extra session.
Islanders 5, Maple Leafs 3
In Toronto, Frans Nielsen, Calvin De Haan and Cal Clutterbuck scored third-period goals to lead New York to the victory.
Wild 2, Kings 1 (SO)
In Los Angeles, Nino Niederreiter scored the tying goal early in the third period and then netted the only goal in a four-round shootout to lead Minnesota to a victory over the Kings.
The Wild, playing their first game since leading scorer Mikko Koivu broke his ankle Saturday at Washington, have won three straight games for the first time since Nov. 1-5.
Blues 5, Oilers 2
In Edmonton, Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, and St. Louis won its season-high sixth straight game.
Chris Stewart, Maxim Lapierre, David Backes and Patrick Berglund also scored for the Blues (30-7-5), who are 11-1-2 in their last 14 games. They are two points behind Central Division-leading Chicago.
Lightning 4, Jets 2
In Winnipeg, Martin St. Louis scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and added an empty-netter to help Tampa Bay get the win in the penalty-filled game.
Coyotes 6, Flames 0
In Glendale, Arizona, Thomas Greiss stopped 27 shots, Lauri Korpikoski had a goal and two assists, and Phoenix rolled to the win.
Hurricanes at Sabres — ppd.