NASHVILLE - Roman Josi is on such a roll lately, even the shots he doesn’t expect to go in do just that.
The defenceman had another goal and an assist, Pekka Rinne made 26 saves and the Nashville Predators beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Monday night.
Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson also scored for the Predators, who have won four of five.
“Out of the last 10 points, we’ve gotten nine of them,” Rinne said. “That’s really good. We needed that and obviously it feels better to go on the (Christmas) break after wins like this.”
Lawson Crouse and Jakob Chychrun scored for Arizona. Alex Goligoski added two assists.
Josi put the Predators up 3-1 at 9:56 of the third period with a wrist shot from the left point through traffic.
“I just saw a lane and I just wanted to get it off quick,” Josi said. “I was pretty surprised it went in, but I’ll take it.”
Chychrun drew the Coyotes within one 37 seconds later, but Arizona could not tie it.
Josi, who earlier Monday was selected the NHL’s second star for last week, extended his career-best goal streak to five games. He became the first defenceman in Nashville history to score a goal in five consecutive games.
“He’s always been an impactful player offensively and right now he’s in a groove and that’s good for us,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s had such a strong start to his season. Every game, he’s ... if not the most noticeable player, he’s one of them. There’s never a game where he doesn’t show up and punch his ticket.”
Rinne earned his 354th win, placing him 20th on the NHL's career list.
Forsberg opened the scoring at 18:08 of the first.
After goaltender Antti Raanta turned aside Nashville’s first 21 shots in the period, Forsberg was finally able to put one in when Josi's shot hit traffic in front and the puck bounced to Forsberg on the left side. With his feet below the goal line, Forsberg quickly kicked the puck to his forehand and slipped a slick wrist shot between Raanta and the near post.
“The first period was tough. (Raanta) was unreal,” Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. “They threw everything at us. We didn’t go through people early and against Nashville, you’ve got to go through those guys because they’re good through the neutral zone.”
Forsberg and Josi are tied for the team lead with 14 goals.
The Predators outshot Arizona 22-5 in the first. Prior to Forsberg’s goal, Raanta denied Rocco Grimaldi and then two backhand attempts by Matt Duchene in a five-second span.
Raanta finished with 38 saves.
Arvidsson made it 2-0 at 7:55 of the second when his long slap shot from the right side hit Raanta in the mask and then trickled across the goal line for his seventh of the season.
Playing in his second game since missing 12 after being cross-checked by St. Louis defenceman Robert Bortuzzo on Nov. 23, Arvidsson scored his first goal since Nov. 2.
Crouse halved the Nashville lead at 18:07 of the second.
After taking a pass from Nick Schmaltz on the right side, Crouse skated into the right circle and slipped a backhand by Rinne.
“(Schmaltz) just laid a beautiful saucer pass and I looked up and there was just me against the goalie,” Crouse said. “I came in and threw a backhander over his shoulder.”
NOTES: Predators C Colin Blackwell assisted on Josi’s goal for his first NHL point. ... Predators LW Austin Watson was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. ... Schmaltz has assists in four consecutive games, totalling seven during that span. ... The Coyotes have not allowed a power-play goal in their last five games.
Coyotes: Visit the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.
Predators: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.
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