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game recap

Smith scores first NHL hat trick, powers Predators past Islanders

Saros makes 31 saves for shutout, Grimaldi has goal, assist for Nashville

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Smith earns first NHL hat trick

NYI@NSH: Smith records first career NHL hat trick

Craig Smith scored 35 seconds in against the Islanders, and added two more later on to earn his first career NHL hat trick

  • 01:49 •

NASHVILLE -- Craig Smith scored his first NHL hat trick for the Nashville Predators in a 5-0 win against the New York Islanders at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Juuse Saros made 31 saves for his second shutout this season for the Predators (27-22-7), who won for the first time in three games. Rocco Grimaldi had a goal and an assist.

"It was great," Smith said. "I've had a lot of opportunities to get [a hat trick], so it was nice. It was really good looks by the guys around me. They were nice feeds by [Grimaldi], good work by [Nick Bonino] and was a [heck] of a pass by [Roman Josi] there at the end."

 

[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Predators highlights]

 

The Islanders (33-17-6) had won their previous two games. They are 4-2-0 in their past six games.

"You have to be real with yourself and everybody in the room and realize it's not good enough for this time of year," New York forward Brock Nelson said. "We just have to be better, plain and simple."

Video: NYI@NSH: Saros records second career shutout

Smith gave the Predators a 1-0 lead 35 seconds into the first period. He stole the puck from defenseman Nick Leddy in the Islanders zone and banked his shot in off goalie Thomas Griess.

"The first one, he pick-pockets the guy and goes and snipes from the goal line on the first shift of the game," Grimaldi said. "You see something like that, and you know he's ready to play, and that fires everyone up."

Smith gave the Predators a 2-0 lead at 7:41 on a shot from the slot off a pass from Grimaldi.

"It was awesome seeing him rewarded like that," Grimaldi said. "I didn't know it was his first [hat trick]. I could've sworn it was probably his 10th or 11th with the way that he can shoot the puck. It was special."

Mattias Ekholm gave the Predators a 3-0 lead at 13:33 of the first with a wrist shot on the rush.

Video: NYI@NSH: Ekholm fires wrist shot home in transition

The Islanders pulled Greiss for Semyon Varlamov after Ekholm's goal.

"[Varlamov] came in and did a really good job," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "We gave up a shorthanded chance, and he made a great save. I can't fault [Varlamov] for any of the goals, really. The goals that they did score were point-blankers."

Grimaldi gave the Predators a 4-0 lead at 4:41 of the second period on a wrist shot from the right face-off circle.

Video: NYI@NSH: Grimaldi nets wrister after forcing turnover

Smith completed his hat trick to give the Predators a 5-0 lead at 11:38 of the second period on a shot from the slot.

"We play with energy and try to have fun and make plays," Smith said. "I think everyone plays their best when they're having fun and trying to make plays. I think a big part of our line makeup is our speed on the outsides and disrupting plays."

 

They said it

"I was disappointed in our back end, some of our guys that we rely on, some veteran guys. A few forwards as well. It wasn't a good team effort at all." -- Islanders coach Barry Trotz

"I think they're very tenacious. They're hard on the puck. When they don't have the puck, they really work hard to be able to get it back. All three guys have good skill and hockey sense, so when they have the puck they're making the right decisions. The consistency and the reliability of that line has been impressive. They're the same guys every day. Every practice, every game, you can count on them to be able to be ready to play and play the right way, and that's why they get the ice time that they get." -- Predators coach John Hynes on Craig Smith's line with Rocco Grimaldi and Nick Bonino

Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Smith rips home 3rd of the game

 

Need to know

It was the third time the Islanders have been shut out this season, first since a 3-0 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 4. … The Predators outscored the Islanders 13-3 in two games this season. ... Smith has five goals during a three-game goal streak.

Video: Saros earns Thursday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

 

What's next

Islanders: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG+, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Predators: At the St. Louis Blues on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Video: Smith nets hat trick, Predators blank Islanders

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