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Rinne injured in Predators win against Canucks

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne left with 17:05 remaining in the third period of a 5-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

The Predators announced after the game the Rinne is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and there will be an update at practice Thursday. The Predators are off Wednesday.

Rinne left the game after Nashville defenseman Anton Volchenkov and Vancouver forward Chris Higgins collided into the net. Rinne was knocked backward into the boards along with the net. He stretched on the ice after the play and then went to the locker room and did not return.

"No I didn't [think the injury was bad originally], but you never know," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "You just never know."

Rinne (20 saves) leads the NHL with 29 wins and has not lost a game in regulation since Dec. 13 against the San Jose Sharks. He was named to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game after missing 51 games last season with a hip infection.

Backup goaltender Carter Hutton came into the game and stopped all 10 shots he faced.

"You don't think about it, you just do it," Hutton said. "It's just the hockey. We're pretty programmed, we practice hard. I always prepare like I'm going to play, and you go through the same routine. You just get in there and try to get into it right away. It almost helps to get some shots right away, kind of finding a flow."

Forward Craig Smith gave Nashville a 1-0 lead at 4:07 of the first period on a power-play goal from the slot. Smith one-timed a pass from forward Colin Wilson past Vancouver goaltender Eddie Lack. Forward Mike Ribeiro’s assist on the goal was his 20th point in the past 20 games.

"Throughout the season, guys are going to go through their highs and lows," Smith said. "It seems like when a line is not producing, another one is. That's huge. It kind of picks everybody up on any given night."

Wilson gave the Predators a 2-0 lead at 6:22 of the period on a wrist shot that beat Lack on the blocker side. Wilson led a 2-on-1 rush with forward Mike Fisher and placed his shot under the crossbar on the far side for his second point of the game.

Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler made it 2-1 at 2:47 of the second period on a one-timer from the point that beat Rinne through traffic.

"Anytime that you're down 2-0, it's tough to battle back," Canucks forward Henrik Sedin said. "But we stayed with it, we played hard, we got the goal in the second period. Again, we're taking too many penalties, and we gave them a chance to get back in the game on a power play, which lost all of the momentum we had."

Rookie forward Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 3-1 lead at 13:32 of the third period on a quick wrist shot from the corner. Forsberg's shot surprised Lack and squeezed through the pads and across the goal line.

"To come down the wing, it was a tough angle like that," Laviolette said. "I'm not really sure how it got through, but he does have a deceptive shot. It comes off at a different angle in the way he gets it to the net, but it just goes back to the mentality of just put it to the net because you never know."

Fisher gave Nashville a 4-1 lead with 4:29 remaining. Forward James Neal, who returned to the lineup after missing the past five games because of a lower-body injury, made a lead pass that Fisher was able to collect and slide past Lack.

"When [Rinne] went out, [Vancouver] had a flurry in our end, and they came hard," Fisher said. "Carter came in and did a real good job in a tough situation and a close game. From there, I thought we got better. We had some key goals. Filip got us a big goal there that kind of got us rolling. It was a much better third overall."

Wilson scored his second of the game on the power play with 2:21 remaining. The goal was originally credited to Smith, but his shot deflected off Wilson past Lack.

"Vancouver played hard," Laviolette said. "You lose a couple of games, your urgency to win ratchets up. They played an ultra-aggressive game on their forecheck and their time and space on pucks. It was really tight. I thought it was really tight after the two goals to start, there wasn't a lot of room out there either way. There wasn't a ton of scoring chances either way. We got going and were able to capitalize in the third and get some goals at the end there."

Nashville (29-9-4) is an NHL-best 17-2-1 at home. Vancouver (25-15-3) has lost three in a row.

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