Nashville exacted their revenge on the Phoenix Coyotes tonight, getting a 3-0 win to cap off Pekka Rinne’s already-spectacular 29th birthday, giving Rinne his 3rd shutout of the season. The Predators (6-4-2) gained 2 points on Detroit tonight will staying 4 points behind Chicago for the Central Division lead.
Powerplay – 0 for 2, 0%
Penalty Kill – 3 for 3, 100%
Best Play of the Game: Craig Smith turns on the jets and breaks out on a 2-on-1 with Matt Halischuk. Smith slides the puck under an opposing players stick, right to Halischuk, who puts it in the back of the net to make it 2-0 Nashville.
Worst Play of the Game: Kevin Klein takes a nasty slapshot off his left ankle late in the third period and has to helped off to the bench. He later returned, but was in OBVIOUS pain before he left.
My Three Stars:
#1: - Pekka Rinne – 29th birthday, new 7yr/$49mil contract, and a 35-save shutout to top it off? Truly the number one star of the night
#2: - Matt Halischuk – 1g, +2 on the night. Set up the initial screen for Blum’s goal before cashing in on his own later in the second period
#3: - David Legwand – TONS of scoring chances all night for Legwand and then unselfishly gave up a free empty-netter to keep Patric Hornqvist’s goal-scoring streak going (now at 4 games)
Could this have been Rinne’s way of silencing any of the critics who said he wasn’t worth $7 million a year? Posting a 35-save shutout against the Phoenix Coyotes, Rinne was lights out all night long including making some of his best saves of the year.
Although the first period was relatively uneventful, the second period proved to be a little more fruitful. 8:01 into the second, Matt Halischuk set up a perfect screen on Jason LaBarbera and Jon Blum put it in the back in the net. 8:03 later in the period at 16:04, Craig Smith and Matt Halischuk broke free on a 2-on-1. Smith tapped the puck over to Halischuk who lifts it over LaBarbera’s pads for a 2-0 lead.
After that? It was the Pekka Rinne show. Rinne was being challenged through the first two periods, but it was a Coyotes blitzkrieg in the third. Wave after wave of Coyotes players couldn’t find an answer to the Rinne-puzzle, and couldn’t find an answer for Kevin Klein either. Klein was able to make a save while Rinne was scrambling out of his net before taking a nasty slapshot off his left ankle. Klein DID return in the game, however I’m sure he’s still in a lot of pain.
Finally, Hornqvist finished the night for Nashville, taking a David Legwand pass and depositing it in the empty net making it 3-0 Predators. Rinne is now tied with Jonathan Quick for the league lead in shutouts with 3 in 12 games.
Stay tuned to The Predatorial on Saturday morning for the gameday preview of the San Jose game!
Stay frosty, friends.