Johansen scores in OT to lift Predators past Devils, 4-3
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Ryan Johansen scored his second goal of the game 33 seconds into overtime and Juuse Saros made 25 saves in the Nashville Predators’ 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Johansen took a pass from Matt Duchene and beat goalie Vitek Vanecek from in front.
“That was huge for us. We could have easily walked out with no points,” Johansen said. “We made a couple of big plays and had a great result.”
Mikael Granlund tied it for Nashville with nine seconds left in regulation. The Devils had a power-play chance in the closing minutes when Nashville was called for too many men, but Granlund scored 37 seconds after the penalty expired. Johansen also assisted on the tying goal along with Filip Forsberg.
“We had a really big penalty kill at the end, then made a really good play to get our shot,” Granlund said. “That was a good job by us getting two points. We want to be a top team. Tonight was a good step.”
Devils coach Lindy Ruff said his team was trying to score on the late man-advantage even though they deployed a second defenseman.
“We wanted to attack, we wanted to try to score, but at the same time we were going to be smart and have two defensemen for both units,” Ruff said. “So execution there wasn’t what we wanted.”
Colton Sissons also scored for the Predators at 19:16 of the first after Johansen scored 11 seconds into the contest, the fastest road goal to start a game in franchise history.
Nashville has won seven in a row at Prudential Center, sending the Devils to their second loss in their last 18 games (16-1-1).
“We found a way to get it done,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “That was a hard-fought game. We had a big kiil at the end and the guys at 6-on-5 got it done.”
Defenseman Kevin Bahl and forwards Jesper Bratt and Alexander Holtz scored for New Jersey in a 2:38 span early in the second period to make it 3-2. Vanecek stopped 20 shots.
Predators coach John Hynes, who was replaced as Devils coach in December 2019 and hired by Nashville a month later, again returned to Prudential Center. Hynes coached the Devils for four-plus seasons, including their most recent playoff appearance in 2018. “I had a lot of good relationships with people in the organization, people in the arena,’’ Hynes said before the game. “It’s always nice when you come back and see familiar faces. Jersey was a great place for us.”
NOTES: Devils forward Miles Wood was a late scratch (Devils coach Lindy Ruff said after the game Wood wasn’t feeling well) … New Jersey also was without injured forwards Nathan Bastian, Ondrej Palat and goaltenders Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier … The Predators scratched forwards Eeli Tolvanen and Michael McCarron … The teams meet again Jan. 26 in Nashville.
Devils: At Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Predators: At New York Islanders on Friday night.
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