OTTAWA — It was exactly the type of performance Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner wanted — and needed.
Lehner made 33 saves as the Senators beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 on Thursday night.
Lehner, who improved to 4-2-1 on the season, had lost his previous two starts and hadn't played since Nov. 9. However, he didn't show any signs of nervousness.
"I felt good," Lehner said. "It's always a little bit uphill when you let in a goal early, but I thought the whole team, especially in the second, bounced back and kept it a little bit more simple and it felt solid overall."
Bobby Ryan, Alex Chiasson and Jared Cowen all scored in the second period to rally the Senators from a 1-0 deficit.
The Predators got goals from Shea Weber and Olli Jokinen, while Carter Hutton — playing just his third game of the season — stopped 16 shots.
Jokinen made it a one-goal game in the opening minutes of the third period, getting his first point with the Predators. Nashville outshot Ottawa 16-3 in the third period.
"There's a reason why we are in the top in the standings because of the way we've been playing," Jokinen said. "We've been able to execute that night in and night out for a full 60 minutes, but (Thursday) we did that for 40 minutes, 30 minutes, something like that and it's not enough.
"Our push wasn't enough in the third."
The Predators had a couple of good chances in the third, but Lehner was solid in his crease.
"I thought (Robin) was very good," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "He made at least three (saves) that could have been goals and the reason we win the game is because he played goal the way he did."
Ryan's power-play goal tied the score at 1-1 at 6 minutes of the second period as he took a pass from Erik Karlsson and beat Hutton with a wrist shot. Chiasson put Ottawa ahead with 6:42 remaining in the period, scoring his fifth goal of the season as he tipped in Cody Ceci's point shot.
Cowen made it 3-1 just 2:06 later as he took a pass from Milan Michalek and beat Hutton on the glove side.
"Having good second periods sets you up for the third and gives you an opportunity to win and that's the priority that you have to put on second periods," MacLean said."
Weber's power-play goal at 3:17 of the first period put Nashville up 1-0. Ottawa was outshot 9-4 in the opening period and didn't even register its first shot on goal until after the halfway point of the period.
While disappointed to lose, Predators coach Peter Laviolette had no issue with his team's effort.
"I was happy that they went out there and played as hard as they did in the third and fought for a win," Laviolette said. "It didn't happen but that's a sign of a team that believes it can do things so for me it was good to go out and show the compete level in the third to fight for something when you're behind."
NOTES: Ottawa LW Clarke MacArthur played his 500th career game, while C Zack Smith played his 300th. ... The Senators will be without C Curtis Lazar (day-to-day) and D Marc Methot (back, indefinite). ... D Patrick Wiercioch and RW Erik Condra were healthy scratches for Ottawa. ... LW Gabriel Bourque and D Victor Bartley were healthy scratches for Nashville. ... C Mike Fisher, a former member of the Senators, remains sidelined as he recovers from a lacerated Achilles.
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