NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Everyone wants to score the winning goal in overtime. Nobody does it better than Steve Thomas of Anaheim.
Thomas set an NHL record with his 13th overtime goal Tuesday night when he scored his second goal with 52.6 seconds left in the extra period, lifting the Mighty Ducks to a 2-1 victory. The loss extended the Nashville Predators’ franchise-worst winless streak to 13 games.
“I sit on the bench sometimes, and I think I want to be the guy who makes a difference and scores a goal to help your team. That’s the mindset I have all the time in overtime. Things happen for me. It’s weird,” he said.
Thomas, acquired in a trade from Chicago on March 11, has provided a much-needed boost for the Mighty Ducks. He had just four goals in 69 games with Chicago, but he now has scored the winning goal in three games for Anaheim since the trade.
“Obviously, Steve can score goals, and we need that,” Anaheim center Adam Oates said. “He’s been a tremendous spark for us. He’s a character guy. He had a tough first half, so he probably feels a little reborn, and for us it’s been great.”
Thomas certainly ruined the final home game of the season for the Predators.
Nashville is 0-8-3-2 since its last victory on March 7 at Dallas and 0-4-3 in its last seven homes games. The Predators, who got their goal from Scott Hartnell, finish the season with two road games.
Thomas broke the tie with Anaheim’s only shot in overtime, taking a pass from Rob Niedermayer in front of the goal and beating Tomas Vokoun. Defenseman Ruslan Salei, playing for the first time since March 5, also had an assist on the winning goal.
“Another one just flew away,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.
With the victory, the playoff-bound Mighty Ducks set a team record with 42 points on the road, passing the 1993-94 squad. Anaheim has earned at least one point in each of its past six games (5-0-0-1).
The Predators did almost everything possible to snap their winless skid. They outshot the Mighty Ducks 15-3 through the first period and 40-31 for the game.
Scoring, not shooting, has been their problem throughout this slide.
Nashville took four shots in overtime and had a chance to win. But former Mighty Ducks defenseman Jason York missed wide left with 3:10 left.
“We wanted to win this one for our fans,” York said. “They’ve been great all year. It’s tough to swallow a loss like that.”
Anaheim took a 1-0 lead on a penalty shot by Thomas at 8:09 of the second period. York tripped Thomas on a breakaway.
Thomas had no trouble beating Vokoun, who skated out to meet him, by shooting to the goalie’s left for his 11th this season.
Vokoun tied a record for most penalty shots faced in a season in the modern era with his fifth, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Curtis Joseph also faced five last season.
Nashville tied the game at 14:58 of the second. Denis Pederson won a faceoff in the left circle and sent the puck trickling toward the edge, and Hartnell scored on a one-timer that beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere to the stick side forhis 12th.
Toronto’s George Haynesworth faced six penalty shots in 1934, while Roy Worters of the New York Rangers faced five that same season, according to Elias. … Predators forward Denis Arkhipov played in his 200th career game. … Thomas extended his goals scored streak to four in three games. His penalty shot was the 13th against the Predators in their five-year history and just thethird taken in Nashville against the franchise.