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March 18, 2019

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Blog: Golden Knights pull away late from Predators, snap home losing skid

0216VGKPredators06

Steve Marcus

Vegas Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty (67) celebrates with Oscar Lindberg (24) after scoring in the third period against the Nashville Predators at T-Mobile Arena Saturday, Jan. 16, 2019. The Golden Knights beat the Predators 5-1.

Updated Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 | 9:46 p.m.

The home losing streak is over.

The Golden Knights snapped a franchise-worst five-game losing skid at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, claiming a 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.

Vegas carried a 2-0 lead into the third period, then briefly went up by three goals.

Shea Theodore overshot Paul Stastny on a 2-on-1 opportunity early in the period, but Stastny recovered and fed Theodore in front. Theodore showed off some quick hands in front of the net before it roofing it by Juuse Saros on the back-hander at 1:56 of the third to make it 3-0.

Nashville got on the board at 4:17 after Mattias Ekholm found Kevin Fiala behind the defense and Fiala beat Malcolm Subban on the breakaway.

Oscar Lindberg put the nail in the coffin for the Golden knights at 13:48, collecting a pass from Alex Tuch from behind the net and blasting it past Saros to make it 4-1. For good measure, Max Pacioretty added his second of the game 89 seconds later.

The Golden Knights outshot Nashville 50-30.

Vegas adds to lead in second

Vegas controlled the action from the moment the referee dropped the puck in the second period, and it built on its lead to grab a 2-0 advantage after two periods against the Nashville Predators.

The Golden Knights dominated the first half of the period with 13 of the first 15 shots in the frame, and got rewarded at 10:53.

Filip Forsberg got his body in front of Brandon Pirri's first shot attempt, bit not the second. Juuse Saros didnt anything on it either, as Pirri collected his own rebound and fired it home on the power play for a 2-0 lead, his 10th goal in 20 games this season.

Vegas didn't let up after the goal. Even taking two minutes to kill off a penalty, the Golden Knights outshot the Predators 24-7 in the period, bringing the game total to 41-19.

Godlen Knights strike first

The first period of the Golden Knights-Nashville Predators game was as expected between the last two Western Conference champions. Both teams scored, but only one of them counted.

The pair combined for 29 shots in the first 20 minutes, and went the Golden Knights ended the frame with a 1-0 lead.

Nashville goalie Juuse Saros stopped the initial Max Pacioretty shot and thought he froze the puck, but Pacioretty kept swatting at it until it squeaked through Saros and into the net at 17:17. Cody Eakin and Oscar Lindberg picked up assists.

Nashville put the puck into the net at 15:47 when Colton Sissons slid the puck under Malcolm Subban's pass, but he was offside when he collected the pass from Roman Josi. Vegas won the challenge and the goal came off the board.

Vegas had 17 shots on goal to Nashville's 12.

Pre-game

Malcolm Subban knows what to expect if the Nashville Predators' star defenseman comes down the ice at him tonight. He's seen it literally his whole life.

Subban will get the nod in net at 7 p.m. for the Golden Knights as they host the Nashville Predators and his brother P.K. Subban at T-Mobile Arena.

"It's happened a few times so far so it's definitely not awkward, but just treat like any other game," the Golden Knights goalie said. "I'm not looking at it any special. My mom is here and I get to see my brother so it's cool, but it's just another game for us."

Malcolm Subban has faced his brother twice before, including once this season. He allowed three goals in each instance in posting a 1-1 record. It will be Malcolm Subban's first appearance since Jan. 6, when he made 36 saves and allowed two goals in a win against the New Jersey Devils. He has been to the injured reserve since, but said he is healthy and ready to go.

The Subban vs. Subban matchup isn't the entire story, especially considering how badly the Golden Knights need a win. They have a lost a franchise-record five straight games at home, as well as seven of their last nine. The Predators have beaten them twice this season, and have won six of their last 10 games overall.

"Obviously a huge one for us, we need to get back in the win column," Vegas defenseman Jon Merrill said. "This is as close to a must-win as you're going to get."

The Golden Knights are in a rough stretch of their schedule, with games against the Lightning, Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs in the past two weeks, with games against Bruins and Jets in the next week. The quality opponent adds to the challenge of getting back into the win column.

"We've played well in stretches, it's just putting together a full effort for 60, 65 minutes, whatever it's going to take tonight," Merrill said. "It's just going to come down to sticking to our game plan and executing for the entire 60 minutes."

Emerson's Prediction: Golden Knights 3, Predators 2

Season record for predictions: Keefer 5-5, Emerson 13-8

TV: AT&T Sports Net (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink 1760)

Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM

Betting line: Golden Knights minus-135, Predators plus-115; over/under: 5.5 (minus-125, plus-105)

Golden Knights (31-24-4) (16-9-3 home), third place, Pacific Division

Coach: Gerard Gallant (second season)

Points leader: Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Tuch (40)

Goals leader: Jonathan Marchessault (19)

Assists leader: Alex Tuch (24)

Expected goalie: Malcolm Subban (2.95 gaa, .904 save percentage)

Predators (34-21-5) (15-10-4 road), second place, Central Division

Coach: Peter Laviolette (fifth season)

Points leader: Ryan Johansen (53)

Goals leaders: Viktor Arvidsson (26)

Assists leader: Ryan Johansen (42)

Expected goalie: Juuse Saros (2.59 gaa, .913 save percentage)

Golden Knights expected lineup

Forwards

Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Alex Tuch, Oscar Lindberg, Cody Eakin, Brandon Pirri, William Carrier, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Ryan Reaves

Defensemen

Brayden McNabb, Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore, Deryk Engelland, Jon Merrill, Colin Miller

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban

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