Devils 4, Predators 3, SO
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—The New Jersey Devils’ eighth straight win wasn’t easy, making it that much more satisfying.
New Jersey squandered a two-goal lead to Nashville on Thursday night before beating the Predators 4-3 in a shootout to extend the winning streak.
“We didn’t have a particularly good game in Chicago, but we battled and won,” forward John Madden said. “The same thing happened in St. Louis. It was good to see us do the same thing against Nashville. They came back on us. I think they caught us at the end of a long trip. We didn’t really have our legs in the third period, but we stuck with it and overcame a little bit of adversity.
“At the beginning of the year I think we would have collapsed a little bit.”
New Jersey was 16-18-5 after a loss to Toronto on Dec. 31, but the Devils are perfect in the new year and have their longest winning streak since a 13-game run in the 2000-01 season.
“I’m not disappointed,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “They have a tremendous record when leading after two periods. We got it to overtime and gave it our best shot. Losing to Martin Brodeur in a shootout is certainly not a disgrace.”
“That’s just the way shootouts are,” Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun said. “It’s kind of hard to get used to shootouts right now. We aren’t practicing them because we are playing nearly every day. It’s tough to get used to breakaways when you don’t practice against them.”
The Predators took a 1-0 lead when Sullivan scored with a backhand shot from above the left circle at 5:04 of the first period.
The Devils answered on the power play with less than 1 1/2 minutes left in the period as Elias redirected a shot by Jamie Langenbrunner.
New Jersey netted a pair of goals in the second period approximately 1 1/2 minutes apart. Langenbrunner scored on the one-timer at 11:58, putting the puck between the pads of Vokoun.
The Predators trimmed the Devils lead to 3-2 as Kimmo Timonen scored a power-play goal from the top of the slot with a wrist shot that went past Brodeur at 17:30.
“You can’t take anything away from the whole game,” New Jersey interim coach Lou Lamoriello said. “That was one heck of a hockey game. You couldn’t ask for a better one. Either team could have come out with the victory.”
The Predators went 2-for-3 on the power play. New Jersey had allowed only one man-advantage goal in the previous four games.
“The teams took advantage of power plays both ways,” Lamoriello said. “We’re getting chances and taking advantage of them on the power play. Nashville also has an excellent power play. This was just a case of who was going to take advantage of a break.”
The Devils have scored 10 power-play goals in their last five games. … Elias has 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) in seven games this season. … Sullivan has a six-game point streak (4 goals, 3 assists) and Kariya is on a five-game run (one goal, five assists).