The Nashville Predators not only got their second victory in three games on Tuesday night, but goaltender Pekka Rinne recorded his league-leading fifth shutout of the season as well. It was Rinne’s second shutout in three games and the 30th of his career, which places him 11th among active netminders. He also joined some exclusive company by reaching the milestone so fast, as only Tony Esposito, Terry Sawchuk and Jacques Plante have recorded as many goose eggs in fewer career start (and all three are Hall of Famers). The Predators continue to be Rinne’s team, as his efforts are usually enough to decide if the team will win or lose. With four goals against the Dallas Stars last night, Nashville’s offense continues to improve and has now given Rinne 10 goals worth of support in his two most recent shutouts.
Nick Spaling, Shea Weber, Rich Clune and Gabriel Bourque scored for the Predators, with Weber and Bourque lighting the lamp on the power play. Rinne’s previous shutout came Friday against the Edmonton Oilers, and the offense matched a season-high with six goals in that game. Two goals in that game also came with the man-advantage, as Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson netted power play tallies. David Legwand, Clune and Zach Boychuk also scored against the Oilers, and Wilson’s two goals and two assists were a career-high.
While Rinne’s performance Tuesday night was great, the Predators also needed to see that their offense could survive with Hornqvist and Wilson sidelined. The team came up big in front of their star goalie, and solid special teams play continues to help out. Nashville now sits just one point out of a playoff spot and continues to gain ground on their Central Division foes the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues.