Rinne's third shutout of season lifts Predators
Goalie makes 29 saves in win against Bruinsby Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent
NASHVILLE -- Goaltender Pekka Rinne returned to the lineup and made 29 saves to help the Nashville Predators to a 2-0 win against the Boston Bruins at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.
Rinne sat out the past two games played by backup Carter Hutton. It was Rinne's third shutout of the season and his second win in his past six starts.
"You're just trying to stay positive and work hard," Rinne said. "I think that's the only way to go through situations like that, where you go through some tough times, rough games. That was a big game and it feels really good. It's been a while since the last shutout (Nov. 14 against the Winnipeg Jets), and it's just always a big win against Boston. We've struggled at home a little bit, and thinking about that, that's a big win too."
Nashville was credited with 20 blocked shots.
"Huge," Rinne said. "I think that's the way we've got to play down the stretch. I was just telling [Predators captain Shea Weber] after the game that he had so many blocks tonight. He made some key blocks, great defensive plays. Guys sacrificed. Our penalty kill was awesome tonight. I don't think they had really good chances on their [power play], even though they are really dangerous. Just overall a really good team game. I see us playing like that down the stretch and we'll be in good shape."
Nashville (27-21-10) is 15-10-4 at home and has at least one point in four consecutive games.
Video: BOS@NSH: Forsberg buries a rebound by Rask
"It doesn't really matter anymore who you play," Predators forward Mike Ribeiro said. "It's really how we come out in games. We came out strong."
Boston (31-21-6) is 19-7-3 on the road and 3-2-0 on a six-game trip.
"Wasn't good enough," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "The first period wasn't very good. Theirs was extremely good. They came at us hard and we kept turning pucks over in our own end, and they got a couple of goals there. In the second period, it was much better than the first. They didn't get much, but at the same time we didn't think we battled or worked hard enough to get on the inside, and for the longest time we seemed to be playing on the outside and making it easier for their goaltender to make those saves.
"In the third period we seemed a little more desperate, but in the end we couldn't catch a break there to at least get that first goal."
Craig Smith gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 2:51 of the first period on a wrist shot from the slot. Filip Forsberg corralled the puck in front of the net and nudged it to Smith, who shot it past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask for his 13th goal.
"They're playing really well right now," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "They were our most noticeable line tonight. They were in the offensive zone, didn't matter what line they were playing against, but when they got in there they were skating, they were working, they were strong on the battles. They moved the puck quickly. They brought a lot of pucks to the net, they fought for second opportunities on the goals. They did a lot of good things."
Video: BOS@NSH: Rinne gobbles up Seidenberg's shot
Forsberg gave the Predators a 2-0 lead at 14:37 on a rebound to the left of Rask. Mattias Ekholm took a backhand that was kicked away by Rask, but Forsberg scored his sixth goal in the past six games and 20th of the season.
"Obviously a lot of stuff has been better lately," Forsberg said. "We've been playing pretty good as a team lately too, haven't got the results we've wanted. It was a big night for the team, and I'm just glad our line could contribute a little bit."
Nashville killed four penalties, including one late in the game when Boston pulled Rask for a 6-on-4 advantage. The Predators have taken penalties late in games lately that have cost them, but they kept the Bruins' chances to the perimeter for the most part Thursday.
"Our guys have never shied away from blocking shots," Laviolette said. "They're good at it. They're willing to sacrifice their body, and it's big down the stretch. Six-on-4s are tough. We've got to stay away from that. It seems to be happening a few times recently, so we need to stay out of the box at the end of the game, but the penalty kill was excellent and the guys [were] willing to sacrifice, they were committed."
Rask made 22 saves for Boston, which plays at the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Nashville hosts the Los Angeles Kings.