No case of the Mondays here.
Ryan Ellis and Kevin Fiala scored as the Nashville Predators defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1, Bridgestone Arena. It's the final result of Nashville's season-long, five-game homestand, giving them six out of a possible 10 points over the stretch and consecutive victories to finish things out.
In a meeting between two of the League's top teams - with all the ingredients for a high-scoring affair - the Preds instead turned to their defensive prowess, holding the Sabres to just one goal on 22 shots, while converting two past former Nashville netminder Carter Hutton.
"We just had to get back to our game," Ellis said. "I think they took it to us, and they were playing quicker and a little bit faster and winning some battles; it was more about what we did and obviously with some new players [in our lineup] they're going to make some good plays. We picked it up near the end and walked away with the points."
The Preds finished the opening 20 minutes up 1-0, courtesy of an Ellis blast on the power play for his second of the season.
After Sam Reinhart evened the score early in the middle frame, Fiala put the Predators back up by one when his shot from the left circle eluded Hutton. The strike was Fiala's second in as many games and his third in his last four outings.
Video: BUF@NSH: Fiala hammers a one-timer past Hutton in 2nd
From there, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne - appearing in his 10th consecutive game - continued to hold the Sabres off the scoresheet for the remainder of regulation, allowing one goal or less for the seventh occasion on the campaign.
"It was a great win for us," Preds Captain Roman Josi said. "Especially the defense, we played really well. It was a huge win. They are a good team, and they've been playing really well this year. It was great for us to get a team win like that."
Monday's victory, coupled with Saturday's triumph over Chicago, gives the Preds a much better feeling after starting the homestand 1-2-0. Nashville has continued to find ways to win more often than not, especially with a number of key players out of the lineup,
"The guys that are out, we obviously miss them with the two good hockey teams that have just come in here," Ellis said. "We have been responding with our depth and a lot of guys are really stepping up and they have played well tonight and in the previous game as well. We are going to need more of that with the bodies that we are missing."
Video: BUF@NSH: Ellis buries Josi's dish to open the scoring
Right in the Wheelhouse:
Just as he always is, Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis has been the first one on the ice prior to practices and morning skates all season long.
However, the right-handed blueliner has been putting a noticeable emphasis on practicing his shot - particularly one-timers from the top of the left circle - over the past few weeks. It seemed as though it would be a matter of time before the work paid off.
At 16:25 of the first period on Monday, Ellis unleashed a bomb into the twine.
Just his second goal of the season - and first with a goaltender in the net - gave Ellis a reason to celebrate, one-timing a Roman Josi feed that helped the Preds to their 19th win of the season.
"I haven't been in that position much this year and it's my favorite one to be in," Ellis said. "Hopefully, I can get a couple more goals there. Overall, it was great work by the guys coming in; a couple of good heads-up plays, and we are just going to shoot the puck and see what happens."
Video: Preds players discuss their win over Buffalo
"It was just a matter of time," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Ellis. "We know he can shoot the puck. He's a big part of our offense. It was nice to see him get one like that. I thought the power play did a really good job of just getting the puck moved around and getting it to where we want it. It's nice to see him get rewarded with that."
One of the pillars in the Nashville locker room, everyone knows how much Ellis means to the club on the defensive side of the puck. But there is also an offensive side to the associate captain, and if Monday's results can provide a spark in that department, there's no limit to what No. 4 can do.
Video: Coach Laviolette talks his team's victory
"He's like another goalie," Rinne said of Ellis. "I don't know how many saves he has over the years, but [it was] a huge goal - a bomb… It was a bomb and [he's] a well-deserving guy to put the puck in the net. This team, we need to see him scoring and so it was nice to see that happening. He's such a big part of this team and big part of our power play."
"He has been playing so well," Josi said of Ellis. "He is shooting so many pucks and getting a lot of great looks. That's how it goes, sometimes you don't get rewarded for it, but he has been playing great. He kept going and he kept shooting and after that, they're going to come for him."
Video: Ellis, Fiala, Rinne lift Predators past Sabres, 2-1
Prior to Monday's game, the Predators reassigned forward Anthony Richard to Milwaukee (AHL) after the rookie forward made his NHL debut on Saturday night.
Nashville centerman Nick Bonino returned to the lineup on Monday after missing Saturday's game due to illness.
The Predators have now earned at least a point in nine of their last 11 meetings with the Sabres (8-2-1).
With the homestand complete, the Predators will now head north of the border to Western Canada for dates in Vancouver on Thursday and Calgary on Saturday before returning home next week.