NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Johansen hasn’t been happy with his performance in shootouts, so he was thrilled one went in Saturday night.
Johansen got the winning goal in the sixth round of the shootout to lift the Nashville Predators to a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Johansen took a slow approach before slipping a quick wrist shot past Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid. Prior to that, Johansen had converted just one of nine shootout attempts in his time with Nashville.
“I’ve been struggling for a long time,” Johansen said. “I was hot there for a while early in my career, and (since) then I’ve been struggling big time. Just kind of the basics for me. It was really nice to get one in there.”
Frederick Gaudreau scored in regulation and Juuse Saros made 33 saves through overtime to help the Predators win their third straight. Saros earned his first win since Nov. 10.
“It feels good,” Saros said. “It was a nice game from a goalie’s standpoint. I saw a lot of pucks and a lot of shots from outside, so I felt good.”
Brian Boyle scored for the Devils and Keith Kinkaid made 27 saves. New Jersey, which rallied for an overtime win at home against Vegas on Friday night, lost for the third time in four games.
“We don’t feel like we stole a point, we feel like we didn’t get the second one and that’s the difference,” New Jersey coach John Hynes said. “Sometimes you can get outplayed and steal a point. Tonight we didn’t steal a point. tonight we didn’t get the second one.”
Kyle Palmieri scored in the first round of the tiebreaker for New Jersey, and Ryan Ellis got one for Nashville in the second round.
With 1:31 remaining in the third, Boyle fired a rebound of Marcus Johansson’s shot past Saros to send it to overtime. The Devils had lifted Kinkaid for an extra attacker less than a minute prior to Boyle’s goal.
“It’s one of the best teams in the league and I thought we certainly could have come out with two points,” Devils forward Blake Coleman said. “I thought we deserved better. If we deserve two points every night, they are going to start to come.”
Gaudreau scored the game’s first goal with 1:17 left in the opening period. Miikka Salomaki’s shot from the left circle was kicked away by Kinkaid, but the rebound landed right on Gaudreau’s stick, and he converted into the open net for his second.
Mattias Ekholm picked up the secondary assist on the goal, extending his point scoring streak to four games. Ekholm has picked up at least one point in his last six games against New Jersey.
Roman Josi appeared to double Nashville’s lead at 11:34 of the second on a power play. New Jersey challenged the goal for goaltender interference and the video review determined that Nashville’s Colton Sissons did impede Kinkaid’s attempt to make the save.
Nashville has not scored on the power play in its last five games.
NOTES: The Predators are 10-0-0 against Eastern Conference opponents on the season. Nashville concludes its pre-Christmas break schedule with four road games, three against teams from the East. … Saros is 3-0-1 in four career games played against the Devils. … New Jersey LW Taylor Hall missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury. … The Devils had won their previous three games played in Nashville. … Sissons’ career-best four game point scoring streak ended. … Nashville is 17-1-0 when scoring first this season.
Devils: Host Toronto on Tuesday night.
Predators: Att Ottawa on Monday night.
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