It is an analogy Barry Trotz uses often.

He says a player's quest to get back up to speed upon return from an injury is like "trying to catch a moving train."

If that's accurate, then no one expected Steve Sullivan to be Superman, the superhero who actually is faster than a speeding locomotive. That burden fell to Pekka Rinne in the Nashville Predators' 2011 playoff opener Wednesday at Honda Center.

Sullivan proved he was up to speed, however, after having missed 20 of the final 21 games of the regular season. The veteran forward got behind the Anaheim defense and scored the first of two Nashville goals in the final five minutes of the second period, an offensive burst that sent the Predators on their way to a 4-1 victory before a disappointed sellout crowd of 17,174.

"You always hope for a little lightning in a bottle," coach Barry Trotz said. "[Sullivan] has some experience [and] we have a young dressing room.

"It was a goal-scorer's goal. He got a little bit of a step and went to the net. … It was a huge goal."

Sullivan was slotted on the fourth line and played just limited minutes (6:15) as he got the nod over J-P Dumont and Colin Wilson, both of whom were scratched.

When he was on the ice, though, he flashed his familiar speed. The goal was his first in the postseason since 2004.