Saros, Arvidsson Lead Preds to Back-to-Back Wins

Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators

Juuse Saros made 34 saves and the Nashville Predators earned their second win in as many nights with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The result gives Nashville points 80 and 81 on the season, keeping them in first place in the Central Division and giving the Preds a 5-1-1 record in each half of their back-to-back segments this season.

“I liked the first, I don’t think we were very good in the second and I thought we did what we needed to do in the third period in order to win,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of the effort.

Nashville’s start couldn’t have been much better and on their ninth shot of the period, Roman Josi flicked the puck toward the Wings’ cage where it banked off the skates of Scott Hartnell and gently bounced into the far side of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Moments later, and in one smooth motion, Kyle Turris brought the puck from in front of Jimmy Howard, reached it around the goalie’s pads and tucked it just inside the goal line to score his first goal in 10 games for a 2-0 advantage.

The territorial edge went to the home team in the middle frame, but Viktor Arvidsson still had a chance to put the Predators ahead 3-0 when he skated in all alone on Howard. But after the forward’s reach to the backhand failed, the Wings found Andreas Athanasiou uncovered at the far blue line and the winger cut the visitors’ lead in half with a one-on-one tally.

A chance for redemption dawned five minutes into the third period, however, as Arvidsson found himself again on a breakaway and this time he was not denied, rifling a shot to the blocker side for a 3-1 Predators lead and his third tally in two games.

“The back-to-backs are always tough with travel, but a huge goal at the time,” Nashville center Ryan Johansen said of the game-winning tally. “The kid made another huge play for us, so that’s what you need when you’re winning games. You need guys making plays and Arvi has been a big reason for our last two wins.”

A goal from Tomas Tatar pulled the Red Wings back to within a goal after a mad scramble in the blue paint, but Saros slammed the door the rest of the way to collect his sixth win of the campaign and send the Preds back to Nashville with two more points in the luggage.

“It was a big win for the team,” Saros said. “Of course it feels good to win, so it was a good road win for us.”

Back-to-Back Special:

When considering the amount of energy exerted over the course of one game in the NHL, one may surmise a team’s record in the second half of a back-to-back situation would be less than ideal.

The Predators aren’t most teams.

Less than 24 hours after collecting a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at Bridgestone Arena, the Preds traveled to Little Caesars Arena and eked out a 3-2 victory over a Detroit team that defeated Nashville just three days earlier.

“We didn’t have a great second period today, but it was a back-to-back and we managed to win both games, so that’s huge,” Arvidsson said. “Now we have to go back and play two home games and make them count.”

The Preds now have five wins in seven tries when it comes to the backend of a two-night test, and much of that success can be attributed to goaltending, no matter who gets the call on the second night. It was Saros on this occasion, and just as he’s done in numerous outings already this season, he gave his team a chance to win, and that’s exactly what they did.

“He’s been really, really good,” Laviolette said of Saros. “Our guys have a tremendous amount of confidence in him and his numbers speak to that… He gives us an opportunity to win games.”


The Predators return for two-straight home games, hosting the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (at 7 p.m. CT) and the St. Louis Blues on Sunday (at 11 a.m.).

Roman Josi’s assist on Scott Hartnell’s first-period goal was the 200th of his career and put the captain at fifth on the franchise’s all time list.

Pontus Aberg, Anthony Bitetto and Matt Irwin were scratched for Nashville.

Pete Weber’s Postgame Report