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National Hockey League
Nashville 3, Ottawa 1
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Referees: Wes McCauley, Chris Rooney
Linesmen: Brian Murphy, Tony Sericolo
Attendance: 17162

Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Pekka Rinne made 25 saves as the Predators opened a three-game homestand with a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

Austin Watson and Craig Smith also scored for the Predators, who have won eight of their past 10 against Ottawa and have allowed two goals or fewer in 17 of 31 contests.

Nashville improved to 9-0-0 against Eastern Conference foes.

Zack Smith scored the lone goal for the Senators, who have lost four of their past five (1-3-1). Ottawa's Craig Anderson returned in goal after serving as a backup Sunday in the team's 2-1 overtime loss to Boston. He stopped 33 shots.

Nashville entered the game tied for the NHL lead in fewest goals allowed per game -- 2.53 -- and last season's Central Division champs faced a stout test in Ottawa's high-scoring offense, which was averaging 3.39 goals per contest, eighth best in the league.

However, offense got the best of defense in the game's first 26 seconds when Smith put Ottawa up 1-0. His backhander from a bad angle below the right circle beat Rinne for his fifth goal. Ryan Dzingel and Cody Ceci registered assists.

During a good stretch of offensive-zone time from Nashville's third line, Watson tied it at 1 when he redirected in a long shot by Mattias Ekholm, deflecting in the blast for his sixth goal at 15:38 of the first period. Colton Sissons logged the secondary assist.

Ellis completed a slick give-and-go pass from Roman Josi with his third goal from the slot at 9:01 of the second period for Nashville's first lead. Ryan Johansen added his team-high 26th point and 21st assist.

Ottawa had a four-minute power play when Brady Tkachuk was high-sticked by Kevin Fiala at 16:15 of the second period. The Predators killed off 3:45 of the double-minor as Nashville led 2-1 after two periods, then completed the short-handed work at the start of the third.

At 1:59 of the final period, Craig Smith skated in and shoved in a backhander past Anderson for his ninth goal to give the Predators a 3-1 lead.

Rinne was solid over the final 10 minutes, standing strong as the Senators made a big offensive push.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Ottawa   Nashville
Zack Smith 1 Points Ryan Ellis 1
Zack Smith 1 Goals Ryan Ellis 1
Cody Ceci 1 Assists Mattias Ekholm 1
N/A Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Craig Anderson .917 Save Percentage Pekka Rinne .962
Craig Anderson 33 Saves Pekka Rinne 25
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Ottawa 26 1 0-3 2-2 4 22
Nashville 36 3 0-2 3-3 6 35
Upcoming Games
  • Nashville will play their next game at home against Vancouver. The Predators have a W/L % of .650 after a win and .636 after a loss.
  • Ottawa will play their next game on the road against Detroit. The Senators have a W/L % of .357 after a win and .444 after a loss.