LAS VEGAS (AP) — Juuse Saros made a career-high 47 saves, Nick Bonino notched his first game-winning goal of the season and the Nashville Predators topped the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on Wednesday night.
The Predators moved into a first-place tie with Winnipeg in the Central Division, both with 64 points.
With the game tied at 1, Austin Watson poked the puck through a small crease between the corner of the goal and the back of Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s skate to Bonino, who was wide open in the slot for an easy goal 3:53 into the second period. And, Saros made the lead stand the rest of the way.
Ryan Johnson also scored for the Predators, who rank fourth in the NHL in goals allowed (134), and second in the league in goals-against per game (2.61).
Despite a 20-7-3 run since Nov. 21, Vegas has lost four of six. The defending Western Conference champions, who lost Monday at home to Minnesota, had not lost back-to-back games at home all season.
Max Pacioretty scored for the Golden Knights, while Fleury made 25 saves.
Nashville is now 2-0-0 against Vegas this season after winning the first meeting 4-1 on Oct. 30.
During a pressure-packed first period that saw Vegas send 18 shots to the net to keep Saros busy, the Golden Knights got on the board when their second line played tic-tac-toe — from Paul Stastny to Alex Tuch to Pacioretty, who found the back of the net with a one-timer.
The Predators tied it after Roman Josi’s shot on goal took a filthy bounce over Fleury’s shoulder, was batted by Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb and then buried by Johansen just 52 seconds into the second period.
NOTES: Vegas’ Gerard Gallant coached his 461st game and is one game shy of tying Tom McVie for 77th place on the NHL’s career list. Gallant ranks 65th with 232 victories. ... Nashville starting goaltender Pekka Rinne remains one win from a tie for 24th on the league’s career wins list with Harry Lumley (330). ... Both Rinne and Fleury are tied for 21st on the NHL’s all-time shutout list with 54, along with Bernie Parent and Ed Giacomin. ... With his assist, Stastny is on a five-game points streak (one goal, six assists).
Nashville: At Florida on Feb. 1.
Vegas: At Carolina on Feb. 1.
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