After ending a six-game winless streak with a home-and-home sweep of the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, the Nashville Predators will try for their third straight win when they host the slumping Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.
The Predators, who are in fifth place in the Central Division nine points behind the first-place Blues, won 4-2 at St. Louis on Saturday and then followed it up with a 3-2 shootout home win on Monday.
Daniel Carr, recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Monday, scored the winner in the shootout while Juuse Saros had 23 saves and also stopped three more shots in the shootout.
“I felt like we played two pretty complete games of great hockey,” said forward Ryan Johansen, who scored his fourth goal of the season in the win. “For our team to get back on the winning side of things and to do it against them, it’s great. Now it’s building off those two wins.”
“We have to string them together now,” added Nick Bolino, who scored his tenth goal of the season to give the Predators an early 1-0 lead. “Winning one isn’t enough. You look at the standings and it’s a very tough division.”
Nashville will be hosting a Vegas team that has won just two of its last 10 games and has dropped five straight road contests including a 4-2 decision at Dallas on Monday.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant, who called out his team’s effort in a 4-2 home loss to Pacific Division leading Edmonton on Saturday night, focused more on his team’s special teams, especially the power play, after the loss to the Stars. Dallas converted two of its three power-play chances while Vegas, which fell behind 2-0 in the first period, managed just four shots on four second period power-play chances, including one shot on the final three.
“It just didn’t look sharp at all,” Gallant said. “It really hurt us. It’s been good all year but tonight it just didn’t look sharp. They did a good job on their PK, but we just didn’t execute and didn’t get real good scoring opportunities. We probably shot ourselves in the foot there.”
It marked the seventh time in the last 11 games that the Golden Knights were held to two goals or less.
“It wasn’t a good game for us,” forward Mark Stone said. “You can’t take power plays for granted in this league. You don’t get a ton of them. When you get four, you have to find ways to generate chances and generate momentum.”
“When games like these are that tight, sometimes special teams is the difference,” added Paul Stastny. “They had two big power-play goals and we had a bunch of chances in the second period and we didn’t capitalize let alone get much momentum off of that. Power play has got to be better.”
Vegas, tied for fifth place in the Pacific with Calgary, also fell out of the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with the loss when San Jose leapfrogged them with a 4-3 overtime win at Los Angeles. The Predators are two points behind the Sharks.
This is second meeting between the two teams this season. Pekka Rinne grabbed 33 saved as the Predators beat the Knights 5-2 in Las Vegas on Oct. 15.
–Field Level Media