Viktor Arvidsson tallied the winner and Juuse Saros was nearly perfect as the Nashville Predators defeated the New York Islanders by a 3-1 final on Monday night at Barclays Center. The result puts Nashville's win streak at four games, giving them 89 points and a continued spot at third in the Central Division.
Against an Islanders team that is desperate to collect points for a chance at the postseason, the Preds were all over their opponent early, before Saros and his mates shut things down as regulation time concluded. The solid road victory is Nashville's seventh win in their last eight tries.
"I liked the way we played tonight," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "I thought we were really good defensively and really good in the neutral zone as well. Juuse was good, and I thought our guys were good in front of him as well. Good road win, good defensive win."
"We're playing a team game right now," center Ryan Johansen said. "All teams that are successful this time of year, it's the depth that comes out and we've got a lot of guys stepping up right now… We have a lot of guys that have ramped their game up, and it's really good to see."
Kevin Fiala started the scoring when he rifled a wrister past Thomas Greiss to put Nashville ahead 1-0 at 10:17 of the first. The goal came exactly one minute after Ryan Ellis appeared to give the Preds their first lead of the night, but Fiala was ruled offside at the blue line after a review.
Another review would be in the Preds future after a puck deflected off Viktor Arvidsson in the crease and into the net. This time, however, the visitors' goal was ruled legal and Nashville went up 2-0 early in the second.
Video: NSH@NYI: Arvidsson taps home Forsberg's nifty feed
A deflection from Josh Bailey cut Nashville's advantage in half prior to the second period horn, and the Islanders had their chances in the final frame, but Johansen sealed the win as he deposited his 100th career goal into an empty net for a 3-1 final.
A final count of 24 saves on 25 shots for Saros was one of the notables in the postgame comments from the Predators locker room, another impressive outing from the young Finn. That confidence spread from the net out through the roster with the Preds limiting a quick Islanders team in the offensive zone.
"Our goaltending was great. Our team as a whole was great defensively as far as limiting their chances," Ellis said. "The main thing for us tonight was defense, they had some chances but we got enough to win and our defensive side of the game was great."
"[Our centers] were really good today in the faceoff, and overall a really smart game from us to not give them a lot of chances," Saros said. "Right now feels like our game is in good shape, but we can't be satisfied right now, we just have to keep going."
It's a quick turnaround for Nashville with a date in Boston on Tuesday night, and as they always do, the focus was appropriately allocated.
"We're keeping it tight right now," Laviolette said. "We'll get some rest tonight, wake up and worry about the Boston Bruins."
Video: NSH@NYI: Fiala wires home wrister to open the scoring
Sixty seconds on the clock changed Kevin Fiala from frustrated to vindicated.
The forward was ruled offside after a review at 11:17 of the first - taking Ryan Ellis's goal off the board - but a minute later, Fiala put Nashville ahead himself. The Preds broke into Islanders' zone with an odd-man rush before Anthony Bitetto dished to Calle Jarnkrok, who found Fiala all alone in the slot.
"I thought Kevin played well," Laviolette said. "He factored into the game and that line has been good. I think he has some chemistry with [James Neal] and [Calle Jarnkrok] is playing really well. The line has been playing good, but it was nice for him to get that look."
Video: Balanced offense leads Preds past Islanders, 3-1
Mike Fisher remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury and did not travel with the Preds on their two-game trip. Yannick Weber also did not dress for Nashville after suffering an upper-body injury.
Juuse Saros is now 3-0-0 when starting in the first half of a back-to-back set.
Roman Josi skated in his 400th career game on Monday night in New York, all of them coming with Nashville. Josi had this to say prior to the night on achieving the milestone: "I think Nashville is a special place, everyone that comes here loves playing here. I love my time here. I've had some great years here. The fans are so great, and the people are great in the organization. I'm definitely proud to have 400 games with this franchise."
Nashville's tour of five games in seven days continues on Tuesday when they visit the Boston Bruins (at 6 p.m. CT on FS-TN and 102.5 The Game).