December 28, 2019 / 4:07 AM / a month ago

Penguins get off to fast start in win over Predators

Five players scored Friday for the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, who roared out of the NHL’s holiday break with a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators.

Dec 27, 2019; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) hits the puck into the offensive zone during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Juuso Riikola had a goal and an assist, and Dominik Simon, Alex Galchenyuk, Teddy Blueger and Bryan Rust also scored for Pittsburgh, which won its second in a row, eighth in 10 games.

Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made 30 saves to win his fifth straight start, 11th in his past 13.

Craig Smith and Viktor Arvidsson scored for the Predators, who had won two straight.

Pekka Rinna allowed three goals on six shots before being replaced by Jusse Saros, who made 17 saves.

The Predators played most of the game with five defensemen after Dan Hamhuis took a puck to the face at 13:11 of the first. Predators center Colton Sissons also left in the first after sustaining an unspecified lower-body injury.

Simon scored his third goal, and his first in 24 games, at 2:17 for a 1-0 Penguins lead. From the left point, he moved into the near circle and snapped a shot between Rinne’s pads.

Smith evened it 1-1 at 4:30 of the first when he knocked an airborne puck to the ice and it bounced in past Jarry.

Just after a Pittsburgh power play expired, Galchenyuk poked the rebound of a Marcus Pettersson blast between Rinne’s pads for a 2-1 lead at 14:16 of the first.

Blueger made it 3-1 34 seconds later. He batted in the rebound of a shot by Zach Aston-Reese.

That ended Rinne’s night.

The Penguins boosted it to 4-1 at 4:38 of the second when Rust fought off two defenders in the low slow and converted a feed from Jake Guentzel, whose threat to shoot from the left circle drew Saros out of position.

At 18:04 of the second, Riikola picked up his first goal of the season, first two-point game of his career when he roofed his own rebound to make it 5-1.

Arvidsson’s deflection goal cut it to 5-2 at 9:18 of the third.

—Field Level Media

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