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game recap

Juuse Saros, James Neal propel Predators

Devils lose seventh straight game

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

NEWARK, N.J. -- Rookie Juuse Saros made 27 saves and James Neal scored twice in a 92-second span of the first period to help the Nashville Predators defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-1 at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

"I think we played a solid all the way through the game," said Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson, who had three assists. "We made good decisions and we played really well. We kept the puck behind them, forechecked, and made them turn it over."

Saros, playing his sixth NHL game, failed to get his first shutout when Sergey Kalinin scored with 5:49 remaining in the third period to make it 5-1.

 

WATCH: All Predators vs. Devils highlights

 

"I've been many times close to a shutout, so you don't get disappointed in it anymore because the win is most important," Saros said.

Saros, 21, has allowed two goals in two starts since being recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Dec. 14.

The Predators (15-12-5) swept a two-game road trip; they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in a shootout Monday.

Video: NSH@NJD: Saros gloves Henrique's power-play chance

"It's great for our confidence," said Neal, who leads the Predators with 14 goals. "It's something we've talked about all year, to be better on the road, and I think you have to be if you want to find yourself in a playoff spot. The year goes by quick, so you have to jump on these points when they really matter and that's now, so it's a great road win."

The Devils (12-13-7) lost their seventh straight (0-6-1). They have been outscored 27-8 in that span.

New Jersey coach John Hynes said it did not play as well as it did Sunday in a 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.

"It shouldn't be a mental thing," he said. "You've got to play, play the right way. That's not a mental thing."

Mattias Ekholm scored his first goal of the season at 5:55 of the second period to make it 3-0. Filip Forsberg, on the power play at 8:12, and Ryan Johansen, shorthanded at 13:40, scored in the third period for a 5-0 lead.

Video: NSH@NJD: Ekholm buries a slap shot through traffic

Devils goalie Cory Schneider, who made 27 saves, has allowed 21 goals in his past five games.

"Sometimes it's just execution, from me on out," he said. "I have to execute on saves and we have to execute in making plays with the puck and not give them life. Obviously, that was an issue tonight."

 
Goal of the game

Neal made it 2-0 at 7:15 of the first period, sliding a one-timer off a pass from Roman Josi. Schneider said he lifted his pad off the ice as he leaned into what he expected would be a rising wrist shot and was fooled.

Video: NSH@NJD: Neal beats Schneider from the circle

 
Save of the game

At 11:50 of the first period, Taylor Hall had the puck on his stick with an opportunity to beat Saros to the goaltender's left. But Saros got his pad to the post and made the save.

Video: NSH@NJD: Saros uses pad to rob Hall at the doorstep

 
Unsung performance of the game

With Nashville leading 3-0 in the second period, New Jersey went on a power play. But the Devils never set up in the offensive zone. Forsberg and Mike Fisher each cleared the puck twice, and Hall turned over a puck to Ryan Ellis. The Devils also iced the puck.

 
Highlight of the game

Neal made it 1-0 at 5:43, but it was impressive plays by Ekholm and Arvidsson that made it happen. Ekholm was able to force a turnover in the Nashville end and sprung Arvidsson on a 2-1 with Neal. Arvidsson made a cross-crease pass to set Neal up for a one-timer.

Video: NSH@NJD: Neal one-times home Arvidsson's great feed

 
They said it

"In this business, every game you want to be able to find a way to be able win. You go through different situations; right now, we are in one where we're not doing the things to give ourselves a chance to win a game. Last couple of games we gave ourselves a chance to win and didn't. It's solving that riddle of collectively putting our game back together where it needs to be." -- Devils coach John Hynes

 

"It was probably our cleanest, strongest road win of the year." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette

 
Need to know

Devils forward Vernon Fiddler left the game in the third period. Hynes did not provide an update. … Kalinin's goal was his first of the season. ... Forsberg has three goals in his past five games. … Arvidsson's three points were a season high.

 
What's next

Predators: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Devils: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, TCN-PH, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Neal, Arvidsson lift Predators past Devils, 5-1

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