Juuse Saros didn’t score a goal, but he didn’t allow one either.
Nashville’s netminder stopped all 28 shots he faced on Sunday afternoon, and Kyle Turris had the lone tally for the Predators, converting a 2-on-0 chance with Yakov Trenin. The 1-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place, included Saros’s first shutout of the season and gave head coach John Hynes his second consecutive win behind the Nashville bench.
“It was a really good win for our team,” Hynes said. “It was a kind of a grind-out game and one where we had to be comfortable playing with a lead in a tight game. Your attention to detail is really important, commitment without the puck is important, and understanding to win games, one-goal games or a shutout type of game, it takes a lot of commitment and mental strength from your team. That’s something we’ve addressed with our players, and I thought we did a very good job.”
“It’s huge,” Saros said of the play from his teammates in front of him. “When you see guys putting their body on the line and just really battling there, I think it creates momentum.”
For the second-straight game, Nashville looked crisp, confident and like the superior team during the game’s opening 20 minutes. The visitors opened up a 10-2 shot advantage to start the game.
Three minutes after Saros stopped Andrew Copp on a shorthanded breakaway for his second save of the game, the Predators took a 1-0 lead. Trenin picked off a soft pass at the Winnipeg blue line and charged toward the net, where he fed Turris across the crease for the game’s lone goal.
“I’ve been really impressed,” Turris said of Trenin. “Such a big, strong guy, fast and as he’s getting more comfortable, I think he’s always reading the play and and trying to make more plays now. He’s a good player.”
Winnipeg’s best push back came in the second period, but Saros made 11 more saves to preserve the Preds’ 1-0 advantage. Nashville’s penalty kill also went 2-for-2 on Sunday afternoon, including a significant kill at 8:19 of the third.
Sadly, a second consecutive goalie goal was not to be for the Preds, but the team was more than content to shut down the Jets in the contest’s final moments. The two points put the Predators three points out of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot (with the Canucks still to play on Sunday).
“He’s been playing so [well] for us all year, and our defense, our team defense wasn’t good enough in front of him,” Preds Captain Roman Josi said of Saros. “Today, I thought we played well defensively, but he was awesome. What a great game for him.”
Nashville will conclude their three-game road trip on Tuesday at Edmonton (at 8 p.m. CT), looking for their first three-game winning streak under Hynes and first since October.
“The most important thing is the players on the team, these guys are very good players, smart players,” Hynes said. “They’ve picked up the concepts that we’ve done, but they’ve executed it… You look at a game like tonight, today it’s a 1 p.m. start, and they came to the rink focused. They were ready to play, and they’ve been very attentive in meetings. We’ve tried not to overwhelm them, but they’ve had the mindset to be all in and buy in and they’ve done a good job.”
Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro missed his fifth-straight game with an upper-body injury, but he has resumed skating with the team.
Forward Austin Watson and defenseman Matt Irwin were scratched for the Preds on Sunday.
The Predators will now head west to the province of Alberta in advance of Tuesday night’s meeting with the Edmonton Oilers.