NASHVILLE – The Nashville Predators survived a furious Penguins rally for a 5-4 win Sunday night.
Pittsburgh’s Ryan Malone scored a power-play goal 4:26 into the game. He took a cross-crease pass from Colby Armstrong. Malone fanned on his initial shot, but was able to recover, drag the puck past the leg of Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun and bang it off his other leg and into the net.
Nashville’s Scott Walker tied the game 1:36 later when he wristed a puck past Sebastien Caron.
Paul Kariya’s power-play goal past Caron gave Nashville a 2-1 edge 9:13 into the period.
Martin Erat wristed a puck past Caron for a 3-1 lead with 2:08 on the clock.
Scott Walker boosted the Predators’ advantage to 4-1 when Greg Johnson’s shot deflected off Walker’s head and past Caron.
Caron was pulled in favor of Marc-Andre Fleury following Walker’s goal.
Adam Hall pushed Nashville’s lead to 5-1 when he one-timed Scott Hartnell’s pass past Marc-Andre Fleury.
Rookie Michel Ouellet scored his ninth power-play goal of the season with 2:37 remaining in the second period to cut the deficit to 5-2. Ziggy Palffy and Sidney Crosby earned assists.
Just 53 seconds later, Josef Melichar cut Nashville’s lead to 5-3 when his shot from the near point deflected off a Predator defenseman and bounced into the net. John LeClair had the only assist.
Armstrong brought the Penguins within one, 5-4, when he scored 9:15 into the third period. Armstrong broke through the Nashville defense and wristed a shot at Vokoun. The puck slipped past Vokoun and trickled into the goal. Malone and Rob Scuderi earned assists.
The Penguins return to action Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Mellon Arena against the Vancouver Canucks.
ICE CHIPS: Matt Murley, Lyle Odelein and Andre Roy were the Penguins’ healthy scratches.