EDMONTON — Juuse Saros definitely made the most of a rare start in net for the Nashville Predators on Thursday.
Saros made 46 saves for his second career shutout and Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist as the Predators continued their torrid pace of late with a 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
“It felt really good,” said Saros, whose 46-save shutout was a franchise record. “I try to help my team as much as I can. I like to see a lot of pucks. You don’t think as much and you just go with the flow.”
Pontus Aberg, Kevin Fiala and Roman Josi also scored for the Predators (20-7-4), who have gone 10-1-2 in their last 13 outings, 15-2-2 in their last 19 games, and have won their last 10 straight against Edmonton.
Predators head coach Peter Laviolette credited the 22-year-old Finnish netminder for keeping his team in the game despite a tough start.
“He was very important, very good,” he said. “In the first period when you get outshot 22-4 and you walk into the room with the game still tied 0-0, you are thankful that your goalie was ready to play and was able to give you and opportunity to win a hockey game. Without him playing the way he did in the first period, we don’t have a chance.”
“Juuse won that game for us,” Josi added.
The Oilers (13-17-2) have lost two of their last three.
“We’re doing the right things,” said Oilers forward Pat Maroon. “Every line is buzzing around, we’re all having chemistry… It’s weird. We score six goals, then the next game we score zero. Then the next game we score seven, and the next game, zero.
“I don’t know if God is punishing us right now? I don’t have any words.
“I know the fans are frustrated, and the media are looking for answers. But the guys, the last four games that’s the best hockey we’ve played in a long time.”
There was no scoring in the first period, but it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of effort on the Oilers’ part, as they outshot Nashville 22-4 in the opening frame.
Unfortunately for Edmonton, the Predators fifth shot ended up going in as a high shot by Mattias Ekholm was tipped by Aberg past Oilers goalie Laurent Brossoit three minutes into the second period. The play survived a video review for a high stick on the deflection.
Nashville added to its lead with a power-play goal five minutes later as a shot hit an Oilers defender and landed on the doorstep before being tapped in by Fiala.
The Predators made it 3-0 with five minutes left in the middle frame as Turris rifled a shot top corner for his seventh of the season.
The second-period explosion continued a couple of minutes later as Josi scored from the side of the net on a two-man advantage.
The shots after 40 minutes were 33-13 for Edmonton, and 46-23 overall.
Both teams are back at it on Saturday as the Predators wrap up a three-game trip in Calgary, while the Oilers hit the road to play the Minnesota Wild.
Notes: It was the first meeting of the season between the two teams, who will face each other twice more… The Predators have scored three or more goals in 18 of their last 19 games…. Edmonton starting goalie Cam Talbot practised on Thursday, and could return as early as Saturday against the Wild.