Saros incredible between the pipes, Preds scathe Vegas 1-0

by Jackson Walsh

On a night coming back from a week’s vacation, where snow hit Nashville causing traffic delays for fans leading up to the arena, those who braved the Southern storm to come out to watch the Predators return to action were not disappointed in the final result. Juuse Saros managed his third shutout of the year a 1-0 victory for the Preds over the Las Vegas Golden Knights, their first ever against the new expansion club.

About the only heat in Music City last night came from the two goaltenders, icing the scoreboard with some terrific saves, including a gasping chance for Vegas when a puck went out of the sightline of Saros nearly crossing the line before Watson got a skate in there to clear it out of harm’s way. On the other side, Marc-Andre Fleury, the ex-Penguin star, had a huge blocker save on a tough angle shot from Colton Sissons, whose woes in finding the back of the net sadly continue on.

The final save count was Juuse, now called “Juice” by many fans, with 43 saves and Fleury with 26 of 27 shots saved, a total of 69 combined saves. The lone goal came off a P.K. Subban slapshot that resulted in a rebound off Fleury’s pad that was corralled by Kevin Fiala that tuck neatly below the crossbar, ultimately deciding the contest.

Vegas dominated the Predators in the shot count, including four chances with the man advantage to no avail against the young second year goaltender. Saros has now improved to 5-0-3 in his last eight starts after dropping his first 3 starts earlier in the season. His net presence is becoming more of that of Rinne, though some rebounds are still tricky for him to handle. With this perfect night, his yearly save percentage is now at .930%, 2.23 goals against average, at 729 playing minutes, higher than Pekka’s .925%, 2.43 goals against average, for the year over 1,880 playing minutes. Defense wins championships the old adage goes, and because the goalies are our third defender in Smashville, we have plenty of it.

The Predators improved to 26-11-6, 58 points which puts them in second place in the Central Division, one point behind the Winnipeg Jets (26-13-7. 59 points) with three games in hand and one point in front of the St. Louis Blues (27-17-3, 57 points) with four games in hand over the Blues.  The Predators have more home games remaining on the schedule than all but on team in the league, so the upcoming schedule should be in their favor.

Next for the Predators is the student night game Thursday at Bridgestone Arena against the Arizona Coyotes at 7:00 CT.

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