The Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Predators came into Saturday night’s game dealing with a bout of food poisoning. The Penguins are more likely to be sick when they review the tape.
Defensive lapses and a barrage of Nashville odd-man rushes led to a 5-1 Predators victory Saturday night, as the Penguins remained winless away from PPG Paints Arena this season.
The Predators (2-3-0) scored four unanswered goals in the second period to put the Penguins (3-2-1) away.
“They’re a quick, counterstrike team,” defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. “If we give them room, they’re going to make plays. And that’s what they did here tonight.”
All four of the Predators’ second-period goals originated with rushes down the left wing, usually with Penguins’ defensemen caught out of position.
Kevin Fiala and Calle Jarnkrok beat Marc-Andre Fleury with wrist shots to put the Predators up 3-1 midway through the second. Fiala then added another that was a variation on the same theme — Filip Forsberg took the wrist shot from the left side and Fiala, crashing the net, pushed a rebound past Fleury.
Dumoulin admitted he got caught in no-mans land trying to jump out and make a play on Forsberg.
“If I’m going to make that jump, I’ve got to make sure I get the puck,” Dumoulin said. “A lot of times they were quick through the neutral zone and just got pucks behind us. We gave up too many odd-man rushes out there in the second.”
Viktor Arvidsson capped the scoring for Nashville with his second goal of the game, coming on a feed from Mike Ribeiro on yet another two-on-one for the Predators.
“A couple of times we got caught,” defenseman Trevor Daley said. “Those things happen. We’ve got to find ways to help Flower [Fleury] out a little bit more.”
Fleury had 18 saves on 23 shots through two periods, at which point he was pulled in favor of backup Mike Condon, who saw his first action of the season in the third.
The second-period blitz came after an even first period that had the undermanned Predators taking some time to get their legs under them.
Scott Wilson got the Penguins on the board early in the first period with his second goal in as many games.
That lead didn’t last very long. In what is rapidly becoming a trend, the Penguins took a careless penalty and paid for it on the penalty kill.
Defenseman Trevor Daley cleared a puck over the boards for a delay of game penalty, which Nashville converted into an Arvidsson power-play goal at 3:08 of the opening period.
“I thought we had a good first,” Dumoulin said. “Obviously we took a couple penalties there, gave their power play some life.”
Saros was one of several replacements in the lineup for the Predators, who experienced a bout of food poisoning throughout their roster Saturday, apparently stemming from some chicken soup in Detroit prior to their Friday night game against the Red Wings.
Regular goaltender Pekka Rinne was one of five regulars held out of the lineup for Nashville Saturday. In his place, Saros — who had played in just one NHL game prior to Saturday — finished with 34 saves.
The Penguins, of course were also playing a few men down, with stars Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang among the players missing from Saturday’s lineup. Coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t ready to use it as an excuse, though.
“We’re dealing with injuries just like every other team in the league,” Sullivan said. “We had a capable lineup in the lineup tonight and we didn’t get it done.”