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Predators hand Maple Leafs 10th straight loss

by Robby Stanley

NASHVILLE -- Colin Wilson's goal at 11:18 of the third period gave the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday, setting a franchise record of nine consecutive home wins.

Wilson drove to the net and scored on the rebound in the crease past Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Wilson's 16 goals and 35 points each tie career highs.

"Just trying to go to the net and put pucks at the net," the six-season veteran said. "I think that's about it. Just trying to stay engaged in every game."

Toronto (22-26-4) has lost 10 in a row (0-9-1), tied for the longest losing streak in Maple Leafs history (Jan. 15 to Feb. 8, 1967).

Nashville (33-11-6) is a League-best 20-2-1 at home.

"We just take a lot of pride," Predators defenseman Shea Weber said. "I think a lot of teams in this league take a lot of pride in playing at home, and we especially do. We want to make it tough for teams to come into this building and play. That's a big advantage when you can have that kind of record at home."

Nashville was trailing in the third period after surrendering two goals in 37 seconds. Coach Peter Laviolette called his timeout, and Nashville was able to take control of the game.

"Not too surprising," Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton said. "I think we've kind of showed that all year. We're never really out of games at any point. We didn't think it was our best game. We weren't happy with our second, and the third didn’t start the way we wanted it to. We stuck with it, and that's huge."

Defenseman Seth Jones gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 11:52 of the first period on a shorthanded goal. Jones forced a turnover at center ice and was able to skate past the Toronto defense and beat Bernier on a breakaway.

"I think that in the first period we turned the puck over too many times," Maple Leafs coach Peter Horachek said. "We were undisciplined with that part of the game, and that hurt us. I think the goals they scored were totally on us, and I didn't think we were playing the way we were capable of."

Weber gave Nashville a 2-0 lead at 15:31 of the first period on a slap shot on the power play, his 11th. The defenseman took the shot from above the right faceoff circle and beat Bernier over the glove side.

Toronto forward Daniel Winnik scored to make it 2-1 at 7:49 of the second period on a one-timer from the slot. Winnik received a pass from Mike Santorelli and beat Hutton over the shoulder.

Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri tied the game 2-2 at 2:19 of the third period. Forward David Booth had a breakaway attempt stopped by Hutton, but Kadri was able to corral the rebound and place it past Hutton.

Santorelli gave the Maple Leafs a 3-2 lead at 2:56 of the third period on a wrist shot that beat Hutton on the blocker side. He showed patience with the puck and was able to create a shooting lane in the slot that fooled Hutton.

"We tried to saddle it up that the last 10 minutes of the second period weren't good, so we tried to address it between periods," Laviolette said. "They came out and popped a couple right away. Just the way we played the last 10 minutes and the first few minutes of the third period, I don't think we were going to be successful had we just continued down that road. I would rather get up to the plate and swing for home runs regardless of the score."

Nashville forward Mike Fisher tied the game 3-3 at 6:55 of the third period on a point-blank shot that beat Bernier. Fisher took a pass from Wilson and scored his fourth goal in the past four games; he also had two assists.

"There's been lots of guys that have been playing well, and I've been playing with two really good players and feeding off of those guys when I can and when I get chances, trying to bury it," Fisher said. "I think it's just finding a little bit of chemistry with those guys, and they deserve a lot of credit."

Goaltender James Reimer entered the game for Toronto with 1:08 remaining in the second period and stopped all four shots he faced in 5:24 of action. Bernier was cut after making a save against Nashville forward Matt Cullen on a breakaway and left the game but returned with 15:44 remaining in the third period.

Hutton made a spectacular save late in the third period to preserve the lead. Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly took a shot which hit Winnik in front of the net and bounced into the crease behind Hutton, who turned around and managed to keep the puck out of the net by swatting at it with his stick.

"That was a great save," Wilson said. "I was out there and I saw it as it was going back. It was just a great play by him. Really excited for him."

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