NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Alex Galchenyuk hopes this goal can finally get him going with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Galchenyuk scored his third goal of the season, Tristan Jarry made 30 saves and the Penguins beat the banged up Nashville Predators 5-2 Friday night.
Dominik Simon, Teddy Blueger, Bryan Rust and Juuso Riikola also scored for the Penguins, who have won five of six.
”When you get offense throughout your lineup like that, it gives you a much better chance to win,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. ”That’s what it takes, especially given the circumstances that we are in right now. It’s a good win for us.”
The 25-year-old Galchenyuk, acquired last offseason from Arizona in exchange for star forward Phil Kessel, ended an eight-game scoring drought. This was his first goal on the road this season – he entered with just two assists in 11 away games.
”There’s no secret, I want to produce more,” Galchenyuk said. ”I’m going out there and I’m trying to create something. It paid off today, but at the same time, I have to stick with it and keep working.”
Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots. Juuse Saros stopped 17 of 19 shots in relief.
The Predators lost two players to injury in the first period, including defenseman Dan Hamhuis after Galchenyuk’s wrist shot hit him in the face. Hamhuis hurried off the ice and down the tunnel, and the game was delayed while his blood was cleaned off the ice.
Colton Sissons was also pulled after a player fell onto his right leg. Nashville announced at the start of the second period that neither would return.
Craig Smith and Viktor Arvidsson scored for the Predators, who ended a five-game points streak.
”I think that there’s things that we can talk about doing tomorrow both offensively and defensively that can help us be more successful,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”I thought our guys showed up in the right frame of mind ready to compete.”
Simon scored at 2:17 of the opening period on the game’s first shot – an easy wrist shot that squeezed through Rinne’s pads.
Smith drew Nashville even at 4:30 of the first when he redirected Mattias Ekholm’s shot, but Rinne was chased with 5:10 remaining in the first after allowing two goals in 34 seconds.
Galchenyuk put Pittsburgh ahead 2-1, and Blueger capitalized on a rebound of Zach Aston-Reese’s shot for a two-goal lead.
Rust and Riikola put it out of reach with their second period goals. Riikola’s was his first of the season.
”We were lucky to get some pucks in early,” Jarry said. ”It always helps to ease the nerves a little bit, especially after a break. It’s nice when we have everyone going.”
Arvidsson’s goal at 9:18 of the third was his second in two games.
”We were in the O-zone a lot in the second, but we didn’t get to the net,” Arvidsson said. ”We need to be better.”
Notes: Predators D Roman Josi played his 600th career game. He’s just the second Swiss-born player to reach that mark along with Mark Streit. Josi had one assist, extending his points streak to six games. … Nashville LW Austin Watson returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous two games. … The Penguins are 11-3-1 in their last 15 against Nashville.
The teams meet again Saturday night in Pittsburgh in the back end of a home-and-home set.
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