James Neal and the Nashville Predators came into Saturday’s home game hot, but the Pittsburgh Penguins doused that fire with a smothering 3-0 win.
With so much focus on Neal and Patric Hornqvist (sorry, Nick Spaling), Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury ended up stealing the headlines ... although Hornqvist did get an assist.
The sweetest goal probably came when Crosby set up Malkin for a beautiful power-play goal, one of two man-advantage markers as Pittsburgh put the game away in the third period:
As well as Neal is fitting in with Nashville, seeing a play like that by his former Pittsburgh centers has to burn a bit. Fleury earned his first shutout of 2014-15 and 29th of his career, though he enjoyed a few bounces against his former teammate:
Fleury on Neal: “He got two posts… He didn’t score though. That’s all that matters. I don’t care if he hit the post or not."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 26, 2014
With this win, the Penguins end a two-game losing streak and improve to 4-2-1. Meanwhile, Nashville’s days of being undefeated in regulation are over, as they fall to 5-1-2.
The Predators get a little time to gather themselves for what is likely to be a big test to their legitimacy. Starting on Wednesday, they play six straight road games and seven of eight away from Bridgestone Arena.
If Nashville is still among the West’s best in mid-November, then the Predators’ critics will be quieter. The Penguins gave them some ammo tonight, though.
Want more info? Here’s an infographic from the Penguins: