Pekka Rinne posted his 45th career shutout and the Nashville Predators defeated the St. Louis Blues by a 2-0 final on Friday night at Scottrade Center. It's Nashville's fourth consecutive victory, giving them nine wins in their last 10 tries - and with the fathers watching live - the Preds found a way to defeat one of the League's top teams.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "It was a tough game, it was a 1-0 game and they're a good hockey club. It went our way."
"We were super excited to play against one of the best teams in the NHL," Rinne said. "We've been feeling good and feeling confident, so thats a good feeling to have."
Ryan Johansen scored the only goal through the first 40 minutes of regulation and it came just 2:32 into the contest when he blasted his third of the season past former Preds goaltender Carter Hutton for a 1-0 lead.
Video: NSH@STL: Johansen pots one-timer off the post
Rinne continued to stymie the Blues attack into the third period, and then with less than a minute to play, Austin Watson deposited the puck into an empty net to seal the deal for Nashville; plus, allow Johansen to record his 200th career assist in the process.
But the story of the night was the Nashville goaltender, just doing what he's now done 45 times in his career.
"He deserves a lot of credit tonight, like most nights," Johansen said of Rinne. "He's been stellar to start the year so far, and you need good goaltending to win in this League. He's been the backbone and we need him to keep doing what he's doing."
King of Finland:
With his father and brother-in-law watching from the team suite, Pekka Rinne further established himself as the greatest goaltender in his country's history.
Rinne stopped 34 shots to record his 45th career shutout, the most ever by a Finnish-born goaltender. Sure, the shutout means plenty to begin with, but the fact Rinne passed one of his idols - Miikka Kiprusoff - to attain the feat meant that much more.
Video: NSH@STL: Rinne uses his stick to deny centering try
"It's a fun little thing," Rinne said of passing Kiprusoff. "He's a guy I always look up to, and I was really happy when I had a first chance to play against him, against one of my idols. So [tonight is] pretty cool."
And of course, having family there to witness the shutout firsthand put a smile on Rinne's face that will likely last until the team finally arrives in Carolina in the early morning hours.
Bet you can guess who will get the game puck.
"It's special for sure," Rinne said. "For all of us, our dads mean so much to us. Him being there, it makes it really special."
Video: NSH@STL: Rinne stones Schenn with strong pad stop
It Takes All Kinds:
Prior to Wednesday's 3-2 shootout win over Montreal, the Predators had scored at least four goals in five consecutive contests, a clear show of force on the offensive side of the puck.
On Friday, the Preds only needed one goal for more than 59 minutes of regulation - the defensive unit and the goaltender did the rest. It wasn't the ideal situation, allowing 34 shots against to a Blues team that scored eight goals in their last outing, but it worked for the Predators. As defenseman P.K. Subban said just 48 hours earlier, good teams find a way to win, no matter the circumstances.
He was right again.
"We can find ways to improve, and that's just how it is early in the season, but we're finding ways to win hockey games right now and that's really all that matters," Johansen said. "We'll keep fine tuning our game and polishing it up and try and work our way to the top of the West and maybe the top of the League."
Video: Rinne blanks Blues in 2-0 Predators win
With an assist on Ryan Johansen's goal, Filip Forsberg extended his point streak to seven games, recording three goals and seven assists during that span.
The Predators now head to Carolina to conclude the Fathers Trip with a matinee contest against the Hurricanes on Sunday, a noon CT start.