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Winners of two straight, Predators set sights on Knights

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 01-02-2020 13:54 IST | Created: 01-02-2020 13:24 IST
Winners of two straight, Predators set sights on Knights
Image Credit: pixabay

After sweeping both ends of a road back-to-back at Washington and New Jersey, the Nashville Predators will continue their push for a playoff spot when they host the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night. The Predators moved within three points of Arizona for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference with three games in hand thanks to come-from-behind wins over both the Capitals (5-4) and Thursday night (6-5) against the Devils.

Matt Duchene had a goal and an assist and also scored the decisive goal in the shootout victory. Duchene said it was important that the Predators enjoy their four-point road accomplishment over the 48 hours before facing Vegas.

"This time of year, you don't care how you get (the wins)," Duchene said. "You learn from your mistakes and you get better each game. You've got to feel good about these wins, and that's something we haven't done this year. "When we've won big games, it's kind of been like we're a team that's expected to win. But we've got to ride the momentum and feel good about ourselves," Duchene said.

One person who had extra reason to celebrate Thursday's win was Nashville coach John Hynes, who had been fired by the Devils on Dec. 3 only to be hired by the Predators 34 days later. "It's a big win," Hynes said. "We came into the road trip, won back-to-back games, and this was a great game where you're playing a rested team. That was a big step for our team to be able to come from behind and find a way to win."

"What's great about this is we kind of hit rock bottom, and now we're coming on the way up," added Duchene. "Our best is yet to come. We're working hard, so we should feel great about these two wins and bring that enthusiasm and that confidence and that swagger into Saturday." Vegas is four points ahead of Nashville in the first wild-card spot following a 4-3 victory at Carolina on Friday night.

The Golden Knights, playing their first game in 10 days after their bye and the All-Star Game break, blew a 3-1 lead in the third period but pulled out the victory on an Alex Tuch power-play goal with 2:28 to go in regulation. Tuch's goal came just 71 seconds after Carolina had tied it on a power-play goal by Sebastian Aho.

"I think it was a key moment, obviously, at 3-3 where they had all the momentum, and I liked our response," said Vegas coach Peter DeBoer. "We got back on our toes, we started to attack, drew a penalty and scored on the power play. Big goal. Big win. An important start to the road trip." "We just kept pushing," added Tuch. "We didn't let down even though they were coming back."

Malcolm Subban had 22 saves for the Golden Knights, who will get No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury back for Saturday night's contest. Fleury served a one-game suspension for skipping the All-Star Game on Friday night. This is the third of three meetings between the two teams. Nashville, behind 33 saves by Pekka Rinne, won the first one, 5-2, in Las Vegas on Oct. 15. The Golden Knights, after forcing overtime on a Max Pacioretty goal with 0.3 seconds remaining, pulled out a 4-3 victory in the second meeting in Nashville on a goal by Paul Stastny at 1:52 of overtime.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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