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National Hockey League
Nashville 5, Pittsburgh 1
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 22, 2016
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Referees: Chris Lee, Wes McCauley
Linesmen: Matt MacPherson, Kiel Murchison
Attendance: 17113

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jusse Saros started his Saturday in Rockford, Ill., expecting to start between the pipes for the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.

He ended the day in Bridgestone Arena, owner of his first NHL win against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Stopping 34 of 35 shots, Saros helped the illness-riddled Nashville Predators bounce the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1.

"It was a pretty exciting thing," Saros said. "And to do it against one of my idols made it even more special."

That would be Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (3-2-1), who was knocked out after two periods after being touched for five goals on 23 shots, including four in a second period that decided the game.

It was an outcome few could have seen coming. Not only did Nashville (2-3-0) enter on a three-game losing streak, but it wasn't sure who it would have available after a severe bout of food poisoning hit about half the team Friday before and during its 5-3 loss in Detroit.

The guilty food was chicken soup, which has been long said to feed the soul, but instead sidelined starting goalie Pekka Rinne, captain Mike Fisher, right winger Craig Smith and right winger Colton Sissons.

But what really fed the Predators on this night was a delicacy they hadn't tasted often in the first four games -- the 5-on-5 goal.

After Viktor Arvidsson's power-play marker at 3:08 of the first period pulled Nashville into a 1-1 tie, it had scored 11 goals this season. Nine had come with the man advantage, and none since a 5-3 loss on Oct. 15 in Chicago were even-strength tallies.

"I was pretty sure we weren't going to go the whole year without a 5-on-5 goal," joked Predators coach Peter Laviolette. "I figured we'd get at least one."

Rookie Kevin Fiala fulfilled his coach's theory at 2:26 of the second period, patiently skating down the left wing and firing a wrister through Fleury's legs for the first goal of his season and second of his 11-game NHL career.

Once Fiala scored, the goals followed in torrents. Calle Jarnkrok, denied at the goalmouth on his previous shift, beat Fleury low to the glove side at 10:36 for his first goal and a 3-1 advantage.

Less than a minute later, Fiala found the net again, the rebound of a Filip Forsberg shot going in off his skate to make it 4-1. Arvidsson capped the period with his second goal, converting Mike Ribeiro's feed at the right goalpost at 19:24.

"It was nice to see the pucks going in," Fiala said of the 5-on-5 success. "We just kept working hard and putting pucks behind the D."

While Nashville scored goals, Saros prevented them. Other than Scott Wilson's breakaway marker at the end of a 2-on-0 52 seconds into the game, Saros stood tall. He played with poise, controlled rebounds and denied quality chances, snuffing six shots during two Penguin power plays.

"It wasn't like I'd never been in that situation before," Saros said of allowing a goal less than a minute into the game. "I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates. They did a good job clearing the rebounds. It was fun playing behind those guys."

Perhaps mindful that the Predators played without many key players, Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan wouldn't make excuses when asked if his team missed the likes of Conn Smythe Trophy winner Sidney Crosby and top defenseman Kris Letang.

"We had a capable team on the ice tonight and didn't get the job done," he said. "It's a collective effort out there. We made poor decisions on when we were going to pinch. We have to be a more difficult team to play against and it starts with our decision-making."

It was the third loss in four games for the Penguins (3-2-1), who have been outscored 9-1 in their two road games.

NOTES: Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said Saturday that D Derrick Pouliot (lower-body injury) would be out for a "long term." Pouliot was placed on IR Friday. ... Nashville recalled forwards Austin Watson, Frederick Gaudreau, Trevor Smith and Harry Zolnierczyk from AHL affiliate Milwaukee Saturday, and also recalled G Jusse Saros on an emergency basis from Milwaukee. ... Penguins scratches were LW Conor Sheary, D Kris Letang (upper-body injury) and C Sidney Crosby (concussion). ... The Predators scratched G Pekka Rinne, C Mike Fisher, RW Craig Smith and RW Colton Sissons, all due to illness. RW Cody Bass (upper-body injury) was placed on IR.
Top Game Performances
Pittsburgh   Nashville
Scott Wilson 1 Points Viktor Arvidsson 2
Scott Wilson 1 Goals Viktor Arvidsson 2
Matt Cullen 1 Assists Filip Forsberg 2
N/A Power Play Goals Viktor Arvidsson 1
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Mike Condon 1.000 Save Percentage Juuse Saros .971
Marc-Andre Fleury 18 Saves Juuse Saros 34
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Pittsburgh 35 1 0-2 3-4 8 43
Nashville 30 5 1-4 2-2 4 28
Upcoming Games
  • Nashville will play their next game on the road against Anaheim. The Predators have a W/L % of .000 after a win and .500 after a loss.
  • Pittsburgh will play their next game at home against Florida. The Penguins have a W/L % of .333 after a win and .667 after a loss.