NASHVILLE — Corey Perry days earlier said one of the factors bedeviling the Ducks during their 10-game rut was that the puck wasn't bouncing the team's way.
That changed Saturday night, as two Ducks' passes were deflected off Nashville players into the goal and a long-distance shot weaved almost magically to the net through skaters' traffic in Anaheim's 5-2 victory over the Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
"You work hard, you create your own bounces," Perry said. "A garbage goal, as they say, takes the monkey off your back."
Winning at the start of the Winter Olympics' 19-day break is "huge," Perry said. "You lose a few in a row, it's not a good feeling. Tonight's a good feeling. Everyone's going out on a high, and when we come back, we'll be that much hungrier."
The Ducks (41-14-5) have the NHL's best record, a three-point Western Conference lead and a seven-point Pacific Division advantage after snapping a three-game losing streak that punctuated a 4-6 slump.
Perry scored his team-best 30th goal of the season by dishing a second-period pass across the crease that instead bounced off the bottom of sliding Nashville defenseman Victor Bartley's skate to the net.
That stopped the Ducks' one-for-17 skid on the power play too.
In the first period, Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf scored when his crossing pass struck a Predators' stick and evaded goalie Carter Hutton.
Getzlaf closed the scoring with more trickery, flinging a backhanded shot from the Ducks' goal line down ice into the opposite empty net for his 29th goal.
Getzlaf and Perry now take their skills to Sochi, Russia, to play for defending Olympic champion Canada.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said to reporters afterward, "[For] mental-health sake, it was a big win. We didn't want to go the next 20 days with you guys telling us we'd lost four in a row."
The Ducks' tie-breaking goal came 4:51 into the third.
Ducks rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm saw teammates Emerson Etem and Andrew Cogliano in front of the net with Nashville skaters accompanying them and launched a blue-line shot that for now has been credited as Etem's goal.
Etem, however, told the Ducks afterward he never touched the puck, so the NHL will review it Sunday for a possible change.
"Saw it go in, a lot of fun," Lindholm said. "It makes us go to the break knowing we had a good first [60 games], knowing we have to be better as we get closer to the playoffs."
On the other end, Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller produced a sterling effort, stopping 36 of 38 shots. He will now be Switzerland's goalie at the Sochi Olympics.
Nashville (25-24-10) had its own reason for wanting to close with a win, starting the night four points out of playoff position. Despite hammering Hiller with their best shots, the first intermission came with a 1-1 tie.
With 71 seconds left in the first, Getzlaf floated a crossing pass that deflected off the stick of Nashville's Roman Josi past Hutton, leaving the Predators with the slumping shoulders that had plagued the Ducks.
Twitter: @latimespugmireCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun