Pekka Rinne stopped all 31 shots he faced and the Nashville Predators defeated the Edmonton Oilers by a 2-0 final Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena.
It’s the second consecutive season the Preds have started 2-0-0 and exactly the start the club was hoping for on home ice to begin the campaign.
“You want to start off well, especially playing those first two games at home,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “You want to take care of those home games. We did a great job last year in the first half of the year of taking care of those home games and it’s huge for us for our fans and gives us that confidence to go on the road.”
Craig Smith notched his second marker in as many games, as he went top shelf on a 2-on-1, courtesy of a feed from Colin Wilson. His shot beat Cam Talbot over the shoulder with less than two minutes remaining in the middle frame for the first goal of the contest.
“I was coming back with a little bit of speed,” Smith said of the play. “[Wilson] had a great up and he got up and made a really nice, deceptive pass across and he kind of started the whole play.”
After Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Oilers had a goal waived off due to a “distinct kicking motion,” Mike Ribeiro collected an Edmonton turnover behind their own net and fed a streaking Filip Forsberg in the slot for a 2-0 Nashville lead.
Rinne then went on to shut the door on the Oilers as the clock ticked away to cap off the victory.
“The win is the most important thing, but at the same time, you don’t want to give up any goals,” Rinne said. “It’s always a good feeling when you have a shutout and it’s a compliment to your teammates too. I’m never the only reason if we don’t give up any goals, it’s my teammates too and they played such a good game.”
Rinne Ties Long-standing Record:
Rinne wasn’t aware he was tying a franchise record in the midst of stopping all 31 shots he faced on Saturday night, but when he started for the Predators against the Oilers, the Finnish netminder tied a Nashville franchise record for the most games played by a goaltender, matching Tomas Vokoun’s number of 383 games.
“To be honest I had no clue,” Rinne smiled. “It’s an honor. Vokoun was somebody I looked up to many years when he played here. I played three years in Milwaukee and had a chance to get to know him and trained with him during the training camps. He’s such a classy guy, great athlete and a great goalie and it’s a little bonus he’s a European guy too, so a nice little influence there. It’s an honor and hopefully there’s many more games to come.”
The shutout was Rinne’s 37th of his career, and having stopped 56 of 57 shots through Nashville’s first two outings this season, Rinne looks to be picking up right where he left off in 2014-15, a season in which he finished second in voting for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the League’s top goaltender.
“He made some great saves,” Smith said of Rinne. “He’s awesome, he was sharp tonight and he’s ready to go.”
Gif of the Game:
Forsberg goes upstairs on Talbot for the Predators second top-shelf score of the evening.
Roman Josi on Pekka Rinne:
“I don’t think he can impress us anymore, he does it every night,” Josi said. “He was great in the first game and he was unbelievable tonight too.”
The Preds will hit the road next week, starting on Tuesday in New Jersey before facing the New York Islanders in their new home in Brooklyn, the Barclay’s Center. The Preds will finish the trip north of the border in Ottawa next Saturday.
The Predators shot leaders and the location of each Nashville goal is featured in tonight’s infographic.
Pekka Stops Them All