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Ryan Suter's power-play goal leads Predators to win over Penguins

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Nashville Predators overcame an early three-goal deficit to hand the free-falling Pittsburgh Penguins another loss.

Ryan Suter's power-play goal at 9:04 of the third period broke a 3-3 tie, and the Predators beat the Penguins 5-3 on Thursday night to snap a five-game losing streak. Pittsburgh has lost six of its last seven games.

"We didn't deserve to win the hockey game," Penguins star Sidney Crosby said. "You can't cut corners and for us we didn't play well enough throughout the whole game."

With Penguins defenceman Rob Scuderi in the penalty box for interference, Suter fired a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. The puck deflected off of Pittsburgh defenceman Mark Eaton and past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

"We were easily doubting ourselves when it was 3-0 and we could have easily called it a night and packed up shop but we didn't," Suter said. "At the end of the game, it was nice to celebrate a win again."

Petr Sykora put the Penguins in front 1-0 at 14:18 of the first period off of a nice pass from Sidney Crosby. Pittsburgh made 3-0 on goals by Jordan Staal and Maxime Talbot 21 seconds apart before the second period was four minutes old.

Staal's goal spelled the end of the night for Nashville goalie Dan Ellis, with Predators coach Barry Trotz lifting his starter for backup Pekka Rinne.

"The only reason I did that was to try to change our luck," Trotz said. "It wasn't anything about how Danny Ellis played."

"It feels great to get a win, we needed one of those," Rinne said. "I just went in as a relief, and it went well."

Earlier Thursday, Staal signed a four-year contract extension with the Penguins.

Nashville scored three consecutive goals to conclude the wild second period.

"Our resiliency got tested tonight," Trotz said. "All three of our goals there in the second were hard-nosed goals, and those are the kind of goals we need."

Martin Erat's goal at 7:57 got the Predators on the board. David Legwand scored a short-handed goal at 13:32, and Jerred Smithson tied it with 54.6 left in the second.

"We were down and out in a five-game losing streak, and to come back and win says something about this team," Erat said. "We just kept going for 60 minutes, turned around, and came away with the victory."

Legwand's goal was set up by Erat on a 2-on-1 short-handed rush. From the left side, Erat sent a cross-ice pass to Legwand in the right circle. Legwand beat a helpless Fleury with a one-timer to the glove side. Two of Legwand's seven goals on the season have been scored with the Predators short-handed.

"That was a great pass by Marty," Legwand said. "It was nice to get a goal to get back on the sheet. It was a big lift for us."

Greg Zanon's empty-net goal capped the scoring for Nashville.

"Right now, we find ways to always let the other team back in the game," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed with the performance of a lot of guys."

Notes: Prior to the game, the NHL presented Nashville captain Jason Arnott with a silver stick in honour of his 1,000th game played on Dec. 20. ... Pittsburgh has allowed eight short-handed goals against this season.


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