Advertisement

Ellis scores go-ahead goal as Nashville Predators beat Ottawa Senators 3-1

NASHVILLE – Pekka Rinne was beaten early, but never again.

Ryan Ellis scored his first game-winning goal of the season, Rinne made 25 saves and the Nashville Predators defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Tuesday night.

READ MORE: Torey Krug scores overtime winner to lift Boston Bruins over Ottawa Senators 2-1

Austin Watson and Craig Smith also scored for Nashville, which halted a two-game skid.

Zack Smith scored for Ottawa, which has lost four of five.

Nashville improved its record against Eastern Conference opponents to 9-0-0 this season.

“I thought tonight we were pretty good defensively for most of the game,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “I liked the fact that we didn’t turn the puck over. Their neutral zone can be tough to get through. We did a good job of just playing a smart, simple game.”

Story continues below advertisement

Zack Smith scored the first goal on the game’s first shot 26 seconds into the opening period. Carrying the puck into the Nashville zone on the right side, Smith sent a backhand from the left faceoff dot by Rinne on the far side.

“It’s a bad goal and you never want to start the game like that – it’s the first shot,” Rinne said. “It’s not the first time I’ve given up a soft goal. You just focus on making the next save, focus on the things you can control. Guys responded really well.”

Watson tied it 1-all at 15:38 of the first.

From the left boards, Mattias Ekholm sent a shot toward the Ottawa net. In the low slot, Watson tipped the puck high to the glove side of goaltender Craig Anderson for his sixth goal of the season.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Ryan Dzingel scores in OT to lead Ottawa Senators to 2-1 win over Pittsburgh

Prior to Ekholm releasing the puck, Watson tapped his stick on the ice to get the attention of the Swedish defenceman.

“It was a great play by Ekky to get that back to the front of the net,” Watson said. “I’d kind of created a little space off the other side. Great look by him.”

Anderson finished with 33 saves.

Ottawa’s road record is 3-10-1.

“I don’t think we played poorly, but I don’t think we played our best,” Senators forward Mark Stone said. “The road is a different beast. Teams come into our building, we play pretty well. We know that teams are solid on home ice. That’s the nature of the NHL. You have to have a good home record, but also you have to find a way to win on the road.”

READ MORE: Canadiens down Senators 5-2 to sweep home and home series

Ellis hooked up with defensive partner Roman Josi on a give-and-go at 9:01 of the second to give Nashville a 2-1 lead.

At the right point, Ellis sent a pass to Josi on the right boards. From there, Josi tapped the puck back to Ellis skating through the slot, where he snapped a one-timer over Anderson’s left shoulder.

Story continues below advertisement

Rinne made his best save in the final minute of the second period when he denied Brady Tkachuk’s attempt from just outside the Nashville crease.

Tkachuk gets it, but it’s on his backhand and it’s fumbling and goes back the opposite way,” Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. “It that one goes in, it’s 2-2, so again, it’s a different game.”

Craig Smith made it 3-1 at 1:59 of the third when he skated into the Ottawa zone along the right boards. Near the goal line, he cut toward the net and slipped a backhand past Anderson inside the near post.