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Relentless Predators pounce on Maple Leafs

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- A common refrain in the NHL these days is there are no easy games. So when one actually occurs, it is something of a shock, even to the winning team.

Such was the case Tuesday when the Nashville Predators defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 9-2 at Air Canada Centre.

The nine goals tied a Predators record. Nashville scored the first eight goals.

"It is quite unusual," Nashville captain Shea Weber said. "Every night is tough. At the same time, even when we were up, we know they are explosive and they can score, so we came in here between periods and we talked about making sure we keep going."

Taylor Beck scored for the Predators 1:52 into the game, his second goal of the season. Beck, a right shot, broke to the net on the right wing and managed to snap a shot past Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier on the far side of the net from a sharp angle.

Derek Roy scored his first goal with the Predators at 10:14 to make it 2-0 when he jammed a centering pass from Matt Cullen behind Bernier.

"I think we wanted to put a lot of effort in tonight and make sure we do all the right things, but it was one of those nights where the puck seemed to be bouncing right on our sticks," Roy said. "You do the right things and play hard and good things will happen."

With Toronto defenseman Roman Polak off for concealing the puck, Beck scored his second goal of the game at 16:49. Standing in front of the Maple Leafs net with his back to Bernier, he swatted the puck between his legs into the net. Beck also had an assist for a three-point game.

James Reimer replaced Bernier in Toronto's net to start the second period; Nazem Kadri was moved up to center the top line between Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk; and Tyler Bozak was dropped down a line between Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli.

The Predators led 4-0 at 18:45 with Eric Nystrom scoring his third goal of the season. He broke in 2-on-1 with Olli Jokinen and elected to shoot, beating Reimer to the far side of the net.

Toronto's Peter Holland attempted to flip the puck out of the Maple Leafs end in the first minute of the third period only to have it picked off by Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis, who took a slap shot that Mike Ribeiro tipped past Reimer to make it 5-0 at 53 seconds.

Thirty-three seconds later, a shot went off Forsberg past Reimer, but the goal was waved off. It was ruled to have been kicked in, but after a review the goal was ruled to have been deflected in with a skate and the Predators led 6-0.

Calle Jarnkrok scored his first of the season at 3:06 from in tight to make it 7-0, and 2:08 later the Predators scored again with Roman Josi getting his third of the season.

Toronto's Mike Santorelli scored his third of the season at 8:18, and 2:15 later Nazem Kadri tipped home a Dion Phaneuf shot from the point to make it 8-2.

Nashville's Colin Wilson capped the scoring at 17:28 with his second of the season.

The Maple Leafs, who lost 6-2 to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, have been outscored 15-4 in their past two games.

"Honestly, we've got to quiet the noise," Toronto defenseman Cody Franson said. "We are feeling a lot of pressure right now and it's tough not to feel that and just focus on hockey. It's up to us to do a better job managing that. I think we're in a situation where everyone is feeling the heat. We've had jerseys thrown on the ice and have been booed out of the last two games and it's not like we don't feel that."

Phaneuf said fans should not be pointing the finger at the coaching staff.

"When you get beat like that in professional sports it is embarrassing, and when you get beat like that in front of your home fans it compounds things," he said. "It is unacceptable. We were embarrassed. We didn't do enough of the things we needed to do to win a hockey game."

Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said his team was not prepared to do the things it needed to do to.

"It was an awful performance; it's as simple as that," he said. "How can you sugarcoat what happened with our group tonight? The first two periods we had 35 turnovers; 17 in the second period and 18 in the first. You can't win in any league or any level of hockey playing that loose with the puck."

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