Juuse Saros made 43 saves Tuesday night for his third shutout in only 12 starts this season as the Nashville Predators blanked the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
With its entire first line out of action by game’s end, Nashville avenged two earlier losses to its expansion opponent and moved within a point of idle Winnipeg for first place in the Central Division with 58 points.
Kevin Fiala provided the only goal at 8:00 of the third period with his first tally since Dec. 21 against Carolina. P.K. Subban’s blast from the right point was saved by Marc-Andre Fleury, but the rebound kicked to Fiala in the left circle and he roofed it for his 11th goal of the season.
Vegas applied steady pressure in the endgame, playing with an extra skater for most of the last four minutes after getting a late power play and then pulling Fleury for a sixth attacker. But Saros had the answers for every question, making his last two saves on the Golden Knights’ man advantage.
Fleury stopped 26 of 27 shots, but couldn’t prevent Vegas from suffering its second straight loss. The Golden Knights still lead the Western Conference with 61 points.
Coming off its mandatory five-day break, Nashville figured to be rusty at the start. It was also shorthanded, losing Viktor Arvidsson to injured reserve with a lower-body injury suffered at practice on Monday. The Predators also lost Ryan Johansen following the second period due to an undisclosed injury.
Against that backdrop, it wasn’t surprising that Vegas carried play for most of the game. It pumped 15 shots at Saros in each of the first two periods. But the Predators’ backup, getting a start as coach Peter Laviolette opted to steal a couple of extra rest days for workhorse starter Pekka Rinne, stopped all 30 attempts to keep the game scoreless.
Fleury didn’t have quite as much work as Saros, but equaled his save percentage through 40 minutes. He came up with 20 saves, including 11 in the second period when Nashville was able to earn a little more zone time.
—Field Level Media