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Nashville at New Jersey

Predators beat Devils for fifth consecutive victory

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Erat is finally hitting his best stride for the Nashville Predators.

Erat scored a pair of power-play goals and the Predators won their fifth straight, 3-1 over the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

Second in club history in points and goals, Erat missed seven games earlier this season because of back spasms. The early-season injury slowed his production, leaving Erat with only three goals before his first multiple-goal night of the season.

"He's caught up," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "He missed some time earlier. He's going to the net. He's shooting pucks. He's moving his feet and he's doing the things that Marty Erat does really well and now he's getting rewarded for it."

Erat provided all the offense Nashville would need to match a club record by earning a point in 10 straight games (8-0-2).

"We always play the same with strong defense," Erat said. "We're getting the turnovers and we're trying to get the chances to the net. We got two on the power play and that's even better. We need those special-teams goals."

Goalie Anders Lindback has been a key component of Nashville's recent success, improving to 6-0-1 since taking over when Pekka Rinne went down with a knee injury.

Lindback lost his bid for a third shutout in four games when Devils rookie Mattias Tedenby connected on the power play at 7:06 of the third period.

"I just feel comfortable with the way they're playing in front of me," Lindback said. "I trust them so much. We have a really good defense and smart forwards. I didn't expect it to be this good in my first year here."

New Jersey failed to build on Wednesday's 3-0 win over Phoenix that ended a five-game losing streak and failed to generate a sustained attack against Lindback and the Predators. The Devils had only 16 shots for the game.

"The confidence just isn't there," said Jason Arnott, who played four years with the Predators before rejoining the Devils in an off-season trade. "We played one good game and tried to build off that. We got down by a goal and it was tough to come back from."

Steve Sullivan got that goal with 16.3 seconds remaining in the first period. Shea Weber picked off a clearing attempt at the right point and wristed a shot on net that appeared to hit Sullivan in front before trickling past Martin Brodeur.

There were few chances for either team in the first as the Predators outshot the Devils 5-4. Alexander Sulzer had Nashville's other quality chance of the period, a hard shot with six minutes left that knocked Brodeur to the ice.

The Devils' best shot was one that didn't count statistically when Rod Pelley hit the post behind Lindback with two minutes remaining.

Erat put Nashville up 2-0 at 4:56 of the second. Ryan Suter, manning the left point, fed the puck to a wide-open Erat in the right circle and he ripped a high shot past Brodeur.

Nashville continued to play outstanding defense, holding New Jersey to only five shots in the period.

Once again, the Devils' most promising chance hit the post. This time, Ilya Kovalchuk found metal after wheeling in the Predators zone.

"It's unacceptable," Kovalchuk said of the latest defeat. "I don't know what happened. We can't play like that, especially in our home building."

Erat padded the Nashville lead at 4:55 of the third. The only suspense left at that point was Lindback's shutout bid.

Notes

  • LW Brian Rolston played a second straight game for the Devils since being placed on waivers on Tuesday.
  • Nashville RW Patric Hornqvist missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury.
  • It marked the fourth time Nashville accumulated points in 10 straight games. They most recently went on a 7-0-3 run from Feb. 19 to March 10, 2007.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Goalie Anders Lindback is a big part of Nashville's recent success. Lindback is 6-0-1 since replacing the injured Pekka Rinne. (AP)
Goalie Anders Lindback is a big part of Nashville's recent success. Lindback is 6-0-1 since replacing the injured Pekka Rinne. (AP)

Scoreboard
Nashville  (17-8-6) «1113
New Jersey (9-20-2)0011
Three Stars
M. Erat
NSH


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
S. Weber
NSH


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
M. Tedenby
NJ


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
19:43 - Steve Sullivan (9), Tip-In. Assist: Weber
2ND PERIOD
04:56Power Play - Martin Erat (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Suter, Weber
3RD PERIOD
04:55Power Play - Martin Erat (5), Tip-In. Assist: Suter, Kostitsyn
07:06Power Play - Mattias Tedenby (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kovalchuk, Rolston
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:30Volchenkov, 2 min, Elbowing
13:42Sulzer, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
03:11Pelley, 2 min, Tripping
09:36Begin, 2 min, Holding
13:41Salmela, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
04:32Zubrus, 2 min, Tripping
05:30Wilson, 2 min, Hooking
18:45Langenbrunner, 2 min, Interference
Shots On Goal
 123T
NSH512320
NJ45716
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Anders Lindback60:00151
Martin Brodeur57:50173
Game Information
Attendance - 14137
Referees - Ian Walsh, Dan O'Rourke
Linesmen - David Brisebois, Derek Nansen
 
Other Games
Buf 2 Final
Fla 6
Det 1 Final
Chi 4
Ott 5 Final
OT
Colo 6