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Saros stops 35 shots as Predators down Penguins 4-1

March 16, 2022 GMT
Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, left, blocks a shot in front of Pittsburgh Penguins' Jake Guentzel (59) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, left, blocks a shot in front of Pittsburgh Penguins' Jake Guentzel (59) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, left, blocks a shot in front of Pittsburgh Penguins' Jake Guentzel (59) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, left, blocks a shot in front of Pittsburgh Penguins' Jake Guentzel (59) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, left, blocks a shot in front of Pittsburgh Penguins' Jake Guentzel (59) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Juuse Saros made 35 saves to lead the Nashville Predators to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

Mattias Ekholm, Tanner Jeannot, Eeli Tolvanen and Yakov Trenin scored for the Predators, who have won five of six. Roman Josi had three assists and Colton Sissons added two.

“It’s obviously fun. It’s a tight race to the playoffs,” Saros said. “Every point matters. It’s exciting, but it’s also fun.”

Jake Guentzel had the lone goal and Casey DeSmith stopped 21 shots for Pittsburgh, which won its previous two games.

“I really liked our energy,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I loved our effort. I thought we played the game hard tonight. We didn’t end up on the right side of the score, but I think if we bring that effort, if we bring that commitment, we’re going to win a lot of games.”

Ekholm scored first with 1.5 seconds remaining in the opening period. From the high slot, Filip Forsberg found his Swedish countryman skating down the left side for a redirect into an open net.

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“When you play a team that’s tight, you have to do some things out of the box, and that’s kind of what that was,” Ekholm said. “It ended up in the back of the net, big goal at the time.”

Guentzel tied it 14 minutes into the second.

Sidney Crosby won a faceoff in the left circle back to Kris Letang, who found Guentzel open in the right circle. He beat Saros for his 29th goal.

“Just a great faceoff play by Sid to win the draw and (Letang) nice pass, and that draw takes five guys,” Guentzel said.

Saros wasn’t beaten again. He stopped all 13 shots he faced in the third period.

“Juice has played at a high level in every game he’s played this year,” Predators coach John Hynes said.

Just 1:40 later, Nashville regained the lead when Jeannot tipped Josi’s shot from the point shot past DeSmith.

Tolvanen converted on a breakaway 1:23 later after Letang and Mike Matheson nearly collided at the Nashville blue line, sending Tolvanen in all alone on DeSmith.

Trenin added an empty-net goal late.

NORRIS WORTHY

Josi entered with career highs in goals (17) and points (66). His three assists gave him a new career best in that category as well with 52.

Tuesday was his 18th multipoint game of the season. He also extended his point streak to seven games.

Josi won the Norris Trophy given to the NHL’s top defenseman in 2020.

BIG ASSIST

With his assist on Guentzel’s goal, Crosby moved into a tie with former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom for 22nd place on the NHL’s career list with 878.

The assist also extended Crosby’s point streak to 10 games. He’s the third Penguins player this season with a streak of 10 or more games, joining Guentzel (13) and Letang (10).

STREAKS EXTENDED

Matt Duchene also picked up an assist on Ekholm’s goal. Duchene extended his point streak to seven games (eight goals, six assists). ... With his assist, Forsberg has a point in four straight games.

UP NEXT

Penguins: Visit the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

Predators: Visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

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