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Rinne, Preds Shut Out Oilers

Goaltender Makes 31 Saves; Johansen, Arvidsson Add Goal, Assist Each

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

They have their number.

Pekka Rinne stopped all 31 shots he faced, and the Nashville Predators defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 2-0, at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night to give the Preds their eighth consecutive victory over the Oilers.

Nashville now has points in six consecutive home contests, collecting their 25th win of the season and their eighth in their last 11 tries.

"Whatever your decision was on the ice, [you had] to be accountable," defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "Whether you think you should pinch, or [do] this or that, [we] had to be accountable. We came out, and guys were backchecking hard. I loved our game from start to finish. It's great to see."

A scoreless first opened up in the second with both teams registering chances, but it was Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen who converted for the Preds, first at 1:26 and then 19:21 of the middle frame for a 2-0 lead.

That was all the scoring the Preds needed, with Rinne backstopping the club, while recording his second shutout of the season.

"He was unbelievable tonight," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of his goaltender. "As good as it feels to walk away with a shutout, we still gave up a lot of chances to a very good team and a very talented team… the fact that it remained at zero has an awful lot to do with how he played tonight. He was outstanding."

Tic-Tac-Goal:

Video: EDM@NSH: Johansen one-times Arvidsson's perfect feed

They don't get much better than this.

Nashville's top line of Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg combined for a skillful showcase with less than a minute to play in the second stanza to give their club a two-goal cushion. A play that was easy on the eyes.

After juking around the Edmonton defense in the high slot, Forsberg found Arvidsson on the right side of the ice, drawing all of the attention and leaving Johansen wide open in the left circle for a one-time shot that left Cam Talbot with no chance.

"It was awesome," Rinne said of the goal. "I thought that those guys were buzzing all night. They were skating, they were making plays, they were dangerous every time they were out there. Arvi's first goal for sure was a huge one. And then that nice passing play, and then Joey scoring the goal… that was beautiful. I was sure Arvi was going to shoot it, but he made a nice pass."

"I have never tried that in my whole NHL career, so for a guy to have that kind of confidence going up against NHL defensemen and being able to pull that stuff off… it's impressive," Johansen said of Forsberg's move on the play. "Even as his linemate watching that… he really does have an elite level of talent."

Top Trio:

Video: EDM@NSH: Arvidsson cranks huge slapper past Talbot

When the question was posed of why the line of Johansen, Arvidsson and Forsberg has seen so much success as of late, the answer was quite simple.

"We're all really good looking," Johansen quipped.

So maybe there's more to it than that, but the top line was responsible for both Nashville goals on the night. The trio continues to force the issue in the offensive zone and create chances each night.

"All of us bring something different to the table," Johansen said. "Me and Filip [have] the big size and like to hold onto pucks and protect pucks. We use that. [With] Arvi, we know how fast he is, and he creates space with his work ethic and his legs moving… It's a lot of fun playing with them."

Johansen and Arvidsson both registered a goal and an assist, with the pair getting back on the scoresheet after a two-game drought.

"They're building some chemistry," Ellis said of the line. "That second goal was a beauty. Arvi [had] a great shot on the second one, too. They're starting to make plays with each other and know where each other are. It's a good sign for our team when you can find some chemistry."

Perfect Pekka:

Video: Rinne earns Thursday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Same opponent, same result.

Pekka Rinne turned aside 31 Edmonton shots on Thursday for his eighth consecutive victory against the Oilers and his third shutout during that span.

"I've seen the stats… I haven't really thought about it; it's funny how it goes," Rinne said of his play against Edmonton. "Sometimes, you have a lot of success against one team and for me, it seems to be that team. But I try not to pay attention to those things too much. Every [game], it's a new game and new challenge and this year they have a totally different team. A lot of skill and talent in their group. It was a good game by us, though."

It was indeed, as Nashville bounced back from a loss on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh and put forth an effort good enough to collect two more points and start off the first of nine home games in the month exactly how they wanted.

"Pittsburgh is one of the better teams we've seen so far, and then tonight, obviously getting back on track and getting the two points against a really good team, it's a big thing," Rinne said. "We've had a really good few weeks here. This is the time of the year where you try to make some separation and then also catch up on other teams, so it's a huge two points for us."

Video: Rinne's 31-save shutout leads Preds past Oilers

Notes:

Thursday night against Edmonton marked Matt Irwin's 200th NHL game.

In Nashville's eight consecutive wins over Edmonton, they haven't allowed more than two goals in any game. The Preds have outscored the Oilers 21-8 during that span.

Nashville continues their three-game home stand on Saturday night when the Detroit Red Wings come to town before finishing up on Tuesday against Vancouver.

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