LAS VEGAS — Max Pacioretty scored twice, Malcolm Subban made 29 saves in his first start since early January and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Nashville Predators 5-1 on Saturday.
Vegas snapped a three-game losing streak, and a franchise-record five-game skid at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas, which was 29-10-2 at home last season, improved to 17-9-3 at home this season.
Brandon Pirri, Shea Theodore and Oscar Lindberg also scored for Vegas.
Nashville came into the game ranked fourth in the NHL in goals-against per game (2.57) and seventh in shots allowed per game (29.4). The Preds had allowed two-or-fewer goals in 31 games, and one-or-fewer in 18 of their 60 games before allowing the handful to Vegas.
Subban, who was making his eighth start of the season and first since Jan. 6, was spectacular and earned his third straight victory. His night included a huge save in the second period that could’ve shifted momentum, when Nashville’s Ryan Hartman fired one shot, raced across the crease and tried to sneak the rebound by the post, but was denied by Subban’s outstretched skate. Ahead 3-1 with a little more than 13 minutes left in the game, he stoned Viktor Arvidsson on a straight-ahead shot from just inside the circle.
Kevin Fiala scored his 10th goal for Nashville, and Juuse Saros made 45 saves.
Saros fell to 3-1-0 in his career against Vegas. He made a career-high 47 saves in Nashville’s 2-1 victory at Vegas on Jan. 23, and recorded a 43-save shutout against Vegas on Jan. 16.
Vegas got a bit of luck on its first goal, when Cody Eakin’s flip of the puck dribbled to Saros, but was never secured. Pacioretty continued to poke at the puck, which eventually trickled under Saros’ left pad.
The Golden Knights made it 2-0 when William Karlsson passed to Reilly Smith, who dished to a wide open Pirri, who was streaking into the zone. Pirri’s initial shot was blocked, but he stuck with it and followed it up and found the back of the net with his third game-winner.
Vegas extended the lead to 3-0 after Paul Stastny blew an opportunity to collect a pass on a 2-on-1 break, but then recovered with a takeaway near the blue line and dished to Theodore, who buried a backhand over Saros.
Nashville got on the board shortly after, when Fiala split Vegas’ top defensive pair Deryk Engelland and Nate Schmidt and beat Subban on a breakaway.
Later in the period, Lindberg took a pass from Alex Tuch and fired the puck through the legs of Nashville forward Colton Sissons and past Saros to extend the lead to 4-1. Tuch, the team leader in points with 41 points, snapped a seven-game drought with the assist.
Pacioretty added his second goal of the game with 2:29 left.
NOTES: Paul Stastny has at least one point in 16 of his last 21 games. … P.K. Subban remains two points from 400 and six goals from 100.
Nashville: Visits Dallas on Tuesday.
Vegas: Visits Colorado on Monday.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
W.G. Ramirez, The Associated Press