The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks went into Saturday’s action tied for fourth place in the Central Division, making it an important game on both of their calendars. It also came with the backdrop of the two teams trending in very different directions. Nashville had won eight of their last 10 going into the contest while Chicago had lost nine of its last 13 games.
In spite of that, Chicago came out strong, outshooting Nashville 14-6 in the first period en route to a 41-21 shot edge by the end of the contest. None of that mattered though because the Blackhawks could never solve Juuse Saros, who led Nashville to a 3-0 victory.
Saros has been a huge part of the Predators’ recent surge. From March 18 onward, he’s posted a 6-2-0 record, 1.13 GAA, and .968 save percentage in eight starts. Among goaltenders who have made at least two starts over that span, Saros tops the pack in terms of GAA and save percentage. He’s having a great season overall too with an 11-7-0 record, 2.27 GAA, and .928 save percentage in 21 games.
BOSTON 7 PITTSBURGH 5
Brad Marchand led the Bruins with a hat trick and an assist. That gives him 17 goals and 41 points in 32 games.
David Pastrnak also played a major role in the victory with two goals and an assist. He’s up to 18 markers and 30 points in 27 contests.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 23 of 28 Penguins shots. He has a 9-5-3 record, 2.44 GAA, and .910 save percentage in 17 games.
Sidney Crosby scored a goal and registered two assists for the Penguins. He’s up to 15 goals and 43 points in 37 contests.
Casey DeSmith turned aside 21 of 27 shots on Saturday. That’s the most goals he’s surrendered in a single start this season.
TAMPA BAY 2 DETROIT 1
The Red Wings’ only goal was scored by Adam Erne. It was his eighth goal and 12th point in 31 games.
Brayden Point scored the game-winning goal. He has 16 goals and 33 points in 37 contests.
Tampa Bay’s other goal was scored by Ross Colton. That gives him four markers and seven points in 11 games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 25 of 26 Red Wings shots. What’s weird about this start is just how ordinary it is for Vasilevskiy. He has a 23-5-1 record, 1.96 GAA, and .932 save percentage in 29 starts this season.
At the other end of the ice, Thomas Greiss saved 27 of 29 shots. He has a 2-15-5 record, 3.32 GAA, and .892 save percentage in 24 contests. Obviously he’s not having the best of seasons, but even in games where he’s been good, Detroit hasn’t really helped him. He has a 1-5-1 record in starts where he’s surrendered two or fewer goals, which is a really poor reflection on the team’s play in front of him.
NASHVILLE 3 CHICAGO 0
Juuse Saros was the difference in this game, stopping 41 shots to earn the shutout. He has an 11-7-0 record, 2.27 GAA, and .928 save percentage in 21 games.
By contrast, Kevin Lankinen saved 18 of 21 shots. Nashville scored on him in each period of this contest.
Dylan Strome had five shots for the Blackhawks. In spite of that, his goal scoring streak didn’t extend to a third game.
Eeli Tolvanen scored the first and therefore game-winning goal. That gives him 10 goals and 19 points in 30 contests.
Luke Kunin also found the back of the net for the Predators. HE has three goals and 10 points in 22 games.
BUFFALO 3 NY RANGERS 2 (SO)
Igor Shesterkin stopped 27 of 29 shots before the shootout. However, he was beaten once in the three shootout rounds, which in this case was enough to cost the Rangers the extra point.
Linus Ullmark saved 28 of 30 shots in regulation time. He was perfect in three shootout attempts to earn his seventh win of the season.
Casey Mittelstadt scored a goal for the Sabres. He has three goals and eight points in 22 games.
Buffalo’s other non-shootout goal was scored by Victor Olofsson. He’s up to 10 goals and 22 points in 37 contests.
Both Rangers’ goals were scored by Artemi Panarin. That gives him 11 goals and 36 points in 26 games.
NY ISLANDERS 3 PHILADELPHIA 2 (SO)
Carter Hart stopped 22 of 24 shots in regulation time before allowing a goal in four shootout rounds. He fell short of getting the victory, but after some of the rough starts he’s endured recently, this can be seen as a step forward for the young netminder.
Ilya Sorokin kicked out 30 of 32 shots before the skills competition. He went undefeated in four shootout rounds to get the win.
The Islanders’ non-shootout goals were scored by Anthony Beauvillier. He has eight goals and 14 points in 29 games.
Mathew Barzal registered an assist for New York. He also accounted for the only shootout goal.
Claude Giroux scored both of Philadelphia’s goals. He’s up to 11 goals and 29 points in 34 contests.
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DALLAS 3 CAROLINA 2
Tanner Kero scored the game-winning goal. It was his second goal and fifth point in 19 games.
Jamie Benn also had a goal for the Stars. He’s up to seven goals and 18 points in 31 contests.
Jake Oettinger saved 41 of 43 Hurricanes shots. He has a 6-3-6 record, 2.31 GAA, and .913 save percentage in 18 contests.
At the other end of the ice, Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 22 of 25 shots. He’s 8-4-2 with a 2.12 GAA and .924 save percentage in 14 starts.
Haydn Fleury found the back of the net for Carolina. It was his first point in 32 games.
FLORIDA 5 COLUMBUS 2
Alex Wennberg was the Panthers’ hero on Saturday with a hat trick. He’s up to 11 goals and 19 points in 38 contests.
Frank Vatrano contributed a goal and an assist for Florida. He has 12 goals and 18 points in 38 games.
Sergei Bobrovsky saved 44 of 46 shots last night. He has a 15-5-2 record, 2.79 GAA, and .910 save percentage in 22 starts.
One of Columbus’ two goals was scored by Oliver Bjorkstrand. He has 14 goals and 31 points in 39 games.
OTTAWA 6 MONTREAL 3
Evgenii Dadonov scored a pair of goals, including the game winner. He has 11 goals and 14 points in 38 contests.
Artem Anisimov assisted on three of Ottawa’s six goals. That gives him two markers and seven points in 15 games.
Anton Forsberg stopped 35 of 38 Canadiens shots. He has a 1-0-1 record, 2.88 GAA, and .924 save percentage in two starts.
Josh Anderson scored twice for Montreal. He’s up to 13 goals and 18 points in 31 games.
Carey Price saved 26 of 31 shots on Saturday. He allowed two goals in each of the first and second periods before allowing another marker in the third. The final Ottawa goal was scored on an empty net.
MINNESOTA 2 VEGAS 1
Joel Eriksson Ek scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He has 12 goals and 19 points in 36 contests.
Minnesota’s other goal was scored by Kirill Kaprizov. It was his 14th goal and 31st point in 36 games.
Tomas Nosek netted the lone Vegas goal. He’s up to five goals and 12 points in 28 games.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 of 27 Wild shots. He has a 17-9-0 record, 2.14 GAA, and .924 save percentage in 26 starts.
At the other end of the ice, Cam Talbot turned aside 27 of 28 shots. He’s 11-5-2 with a 2.26 GAA and .928 save percentage in 19 games.
COLORADO 2 ST. LOUIS 1
Ryan O’Reilly scored St. Louis’ goal. He has 13 goals and 34 points in 37 contests.
Ville Husso turned aside 32 of 34 Avalanche shots. He has a 6-4-1 record, 3.28 GAA, and .891 save percentage in 12 games.
Cale Makar accounted for the game-winning goal. He’s up to four goals and 24 points in 25 games.
Colorado’s other goal was scored by Nathan MacKinnon. He has 13 goals and 43 points in 33 contests.
Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 of 28 shots last night. He improved to 23-7-1 with a 1.76 GAA and .929 save percentage in 31 games.
SAN JOSE 3 LOS ANGELES 2
Evander Kane scored a goal and registered an assist for the Sharks. That gives him 16 goals and 33 points in 37 contests.
San Jose also got a goal and an assist for Kevin Labanc. He has nine goals and 22 points in 37 games.
Dustin Brown contributed a goal for Los Angeles. He’s up to 15 goals and 22 points in 34 contests.
Jonathan Quick stopped 20 of 23 Sharks shots. He has a 6-8-2 record, 2.99 GAA, and .893 save percentage in 16 starts.
Martin Jones saved 35 of 37 shots on Saturday. He’s on a four-game winning streak and has allowed just seven goals over that span.