Steve Sullivan said a major reason why he decided to have groin surgery in early March had to do with his starting speed on the ice. It just wasn't there. On Wednesday, the forward showed that his typical jump was back as he scored a breakaway goal to help the Predators win the opener of their playoff series against the Ducks.

Sullivan corralled a pass from Cody Franson and sped in on Anaheim goalie Dan Ellis. Ellis stopped Sullivan's first attempt but couldn't contain the rebound.

"That was the one thing for making that decision. I couldn't come out of the blocks. It was always sore," Sullivan said. "Now with the surgery I'm not feeling it, so when I turn and want to fire, it responds."

Nashville Coach Barry Trotz said the decision to play Sullivan, who had played just once since Feb. 24, wasn't easy. But it proved the right choice.

"You hope for a little lightning in a bottle a little bit," Trotz said. "He has some experience, we have a young dressing room. Hopefully, you see if he can get back and I thought he played really well tonight."