Predators defeat Vegas 3-2, move up to 1st in Central Division

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Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros makes a save against the Vegas Golden Knights in the second period of an NHL game on Tuesday, Jan.4, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo / Sam Morris)

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Filip Forsberg scored two goals, Juuse Saros made 41 saves and the Nashville Predators beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Yakov Trenin also scored for Nashville, who extended their current run to 9-1-1. The victory propelled the Predators past St. Louis to first place in the Central Division with 44 points.

The Predators’ 11-game streak spans a long vacation break that saw the team miss four postponed games due to COVID concerns. Since returning, Nashville is 2-1-1, having won back-to-back wins.

“I thought when we came out of the break we tried to accelerate as quickly as possible,” said Nashville coach John Hynes. “We discussed even though we lost the first two games on the way out, it was really, we have to build our game and get back to where we were before the break.”

Hynes attributed the players’ work ethic in training and in the movie theater to getting back on track, a diligence that paid off as he opened a three-game road trip with a win in the one of the toughest arenas in the NHL.

“The quality of the opponent tonight I think the players are generally ready to play,” added Hynes. “It’s a great building to play and it’s a very good team, they are well trained. So I think everyone – coaches and players – knew we had to be at our best. “

Meanwhile, the Vegas offense, which scored 13 goals in the previous three games, only scored two goals in the bottom of the third, which made the game interesting, but it wasn’t enough.

The Golden Knights, 10-3-1, lost their second in a row at home after losing to Winnipeg on Sunday. Despite the two losses, Vegas still leads the Pacific Division – and the Western Conference – with 45 points.

William Karlsson and Shea Theodore scored for the Golden Knights. Logan Thompson made his career debut and stopped 23 shots for Vegas.

After a scoreless first period in which Thompson was put to the test, with the Predators overtaking Vegas 10-8, Nashville opened up a 2-0 lead in the second.

Forsberg, who was in tears, received the pass from Mikael Granlund as he skated the zone and beat Thompson under his arm on the other side early in the second.

Trenin, playing his 100th career NHL game, made it 2-0 later in the period, redirecting Philippe Myers’ shot from the point.

Forsberg scored his second goal of the game and sixth in six games when he blocked a shot, skated in the zone and used a skillful movement, stopping quickly in front of Thompson and putting the puck back into the net to carry the score at 3-0.

Vegas attempted to capitalize on a 4-on-3 power play by shooting Thompson in the middle of the third for a 5-to-3 advantage, but couldn’t capitalize as Saros continued his magnificent play.

“To win in this league at a high level you have to have a great goalie, and we have that with Juuse,” Hynes said. “Juuse is a top keeper in the league, he’s very consistent, he’s important to us when we’re under duress, when we make mistakes. “

The Golden Knights finally reached Saros in the third, reducing Nashville’s lead to two when defenseman Brayden McNabb’s cross was knocked off by Karlsson with eight minutes left.

Theodore took advantage of a screen in front of Saros and unleashed a shot that made it a one-goal game with 1:46 to go.

Despite the loss, Thompson was excited after making a valiant effort in front of an announced rally of 17,804, while starter Robin Lehner and regular replacement Laurent Brossoit were both grazed with injuries.

“Four years ago I was in college,” said Thompson, whose father was in the stands to watch his son make his first NHL debut. “I think that’s why I was just trying to soak up everything. It was really exciting. It’s a dream come true for me “

It was Thompson’s second appearance in the NHL, having played 8:15 in relief for Marc-André Fleury on March 10.

NOTES: The Predators, whose 25 power play goals were tied for fifth in the NHL, had seven power play goals in their last five games before going 0-1 on Tuesday. … Karlsson’s goal was his 100th as a member of the Golden Knights. “It means a lot, I’ve wanted it for a while now, this 100th,” Karlsson said. “It feels good to have a fat to end it.” My stay here as a Golden Knight has been fantastic. It has become a house.

FOLLOWING

Nashville: Visit Los Angeles Thursday.

Vegas: hosts New York Rangers on Thursday

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