Zucker’s late goal leads Penguins over Predators 3-1
Feb 28, 2023, 5:42 AM | Updated: 8:21 pm
(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jason Zucker scored with 1:39 left to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
Sidney Crosby also scored, Bryan Rust added a late empty-netter and Tristan Jarry made 24 saves for Pittsburgh, which extended its winning streak to three games. The Penguins entered Tuesday holding the Eastern Conference’s second wild card spot.
“We weren’t really pleased with the first period,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “I thought we were loose. I thought we gave up a lot of chances. That wasn’t the game that we wanted to put on the ice. I thought they responded really well the second and third. I thought we were really solid.”
Mark Jankowski scored and Juuse Saros made 31 saves for Nashville, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Predators have been sellers recently as Friday’s trade deadline approaches. The Predators are a longshot in the quest to claim one of the Western Conference’s playoff berths.
With time winding down in the third, Zucker stripped the puck from Ryan McDonagh and then beat Saros.
“It just kind of popped out,” Zucker said. “Honestly, I didn’t even look at the net. I was just trying to get it on net and it happened to go in. Kind of a lucky one for me there.”
Jankowski, recalled earlier Tuesday from the AHL, intercepted a clearing attempt by Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang before slipping a wrist shot by Jarry at 7:01 of the third period.
“When I got the puck on the turnover there, I looked up and saw I had some time, so I thought I would see what I could do, and just waited out the goalie there,” Jankowski said.
Crosby answered 11 minutes into the third, beating Saros between the pads on a breakaway.
The Predators came out firing in the opening period, outshooting Pittsburgh 17-9 in the first, and the Penguins tilted the ice the other way in the second, holding a 17-5 shot advantage in the middle period. Nashville had just three shots in the third.
“I think we’d still like to limit the chances against and make sure we’re not putting ourselves in bad spots just from our own doing … make teams work for their chances if they’re going to get them,” Crosby said.
Rust added an empty-net goal in the game’s final seconds.
After trading away Nino Niederreiter, Tanner Jeannot and Mattias Ekholm in recent days, a couple of players made their debuts Tuesday.
Defenseman Cal Foote, obtained from the Lightning in the Sunday deal that sent Jeannot to Tampa Bay, played his first game as a Predator, spending most of the game playing on the team’s third pairing alongside Jeremy Lauzon.
Luke Evangelista, drafted by Nashville in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft, was recalled earlier Tuesday from Milwaukee and made his NHL debut.
Penguins: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
Predators: Begin a season-long six-game road trip Thursday at Florida.
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