Saros makes 31 saves for 1st shutout, Predators beat Detroit

·4 min read

Nashville built some momentum on its long road trip. The Predators were certainly happy to be back home.

Juuse Saros made 31 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Nashville Predators beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 on Tuesday night.

Mikael Granlund and Mathieu Olivier scored for Nashville, which has won four of its last five.

“Coming home off of a 16-day road trip, being ready to play, I thought we got off to a good start and played a pretty solid hockey game,” Nashville coach John Hynes said.

Detroit has lost two straight.

The shutout was the 12th of Saros’ career. He has been sharp since coming off of the injured reserve list last Thursday after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. He has allowed just two goals on 120 shots against in the three games since his return.

“I’ve been feeling good,” Saros said. “Good team effort. I feel like everyone is pulling the same rope, so it’s always fun to play when guys are sacrificing.”

His best save against the Red Wings came with 11:24 remaining in the second. With Nashville up 1-0 and on a power play, Saros denied Darren Helm on a breakaway.

“We didn’t get to the hard areas enough,” Detroit captain Dylan Larkin said. “We didn’t make it hard on Saros. We didn’t even get very many dangerous looks on him and make him have to make reactionary saves.”

Granlund scored the game’s first goal at 13:59 of the opening period.

With Nashville on a power play, Eeli Tolvanen slid a pass to Roman Josi in the high slot. Josi sent a one-timer toward Detroit goaltender Thomas Greiss. Standing just outside the crease, Granlund tipped the puck past Greiss on the stick side.

Nashville was 1-2 on the power play while Detroit came up empty in three power play opportunities.

“Tonight, we had chances for our power play to make a difference and it wasn’t good enough,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “And obviously gave up the PK goal, so it’s hard to get out specialty teamed to win in this league, especially when you’re not a high-scoring offence , so we’ve got to make sure we win that battle.”

Greiss finished with 32 saves.

Olivier doubled the Nashville lead at 10:41 of the second.

After a scramble in front of the Detroit net, Olivier got the puck on the left side, where he put it in for his second of the season.

“We’re playing a really simple game right now, north-south,” Olivier said. “When we have those plays, guys make those plays.”

GOOD TO BE HOME

The Predators played their first home game since March 6. Nashville posted a 4-3-1 record on their franchise-long eight-game trip that kept them away from Music City for 16 days.

“It feels good to be back home,” Olivier said. “Sixteen days, for most of the guys, is the longest we’ve ever been away from home on a road trip. It definitely put the guys in a good mood to see their families and sleep in their own beds.”

RETURN OF THE CAPTAIN

Josi returned to the Predators lineup Tuesday after missing the last seven games with an upper-body injury. Nashville’s captain last played March 7 in Nashville’s 4-3 shootout victory in Dallas. Josi scored the winning goal in a shootout in that game.

“Obviously, anytime you’re hurt, it’s not fun,” Josi said. “I felt good. It’s good to be back. I thought the guys played really hard on the road trip. I just tried to do my part tonight. It was a lot of fun being back.”

POWER PLAY CLICKING

After a slow start to the season, Nashville’s power play has hit its stride of late. The Predators have scored with a man advantage in 11 of 17 games. The catalyst of the power surge is Tolvanen, who has either scored or assisted on eight of the Predators last 12 power-play goals.

Tolvanen, Nashville’s first-round pick in the 2017 draft, has recorded eight (4 goals, 4 assists) of his 13 points this season with the man advantage.

UP NEXT

The Predators and Red Wings return to Bridgestone Arena Thursday night to complete their two-game set.

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Jim Diamond, The Associated Press