By Jim Diamond
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) — J.P. Dumont snapped a scoreless
tie with 9:12 remaining in the third period and Pekka Rinne made
32 saves to lead the Nashville Predators to a 1-0 victory over
the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
Just three seconds after a penalty to Minnesota defenseman Kim
Johnsson expired, Nashville captain Jason Arnott sent a pass
from the left wing boards to Dumont in the high slot. Dumont’s
shot went off the glove of goaltender Josh Harding and into the
net for his sixth goal of the season and a 1-0 edge.
“It’s a little play that we’ve worked on,” Dumont said.
“Everybody thought that he was going to shoot it, but he made a
great pass to me in the slot.”
Arnott was happy to be able to set up Dumont for a change.
Dumont has assisted on 10 of Arnott’s team-leading 13 goals this
“I figure I owe him a bunch,” Arnott said. “He was wide open
and he made a great shot, so that was the play to make.”
The shutout was the second in three starts for Rinne. With the
blanking, he improved to 6-0-0 on the season.
“The guys are doing a great job in front of me,” Rinne said. “A
shutout is never just the goalie.”
The 26-year-old Finn turned aside four shots in the first
period, 16 more in the second and 12 in the third to complete
his second career shutout.
Rinne, who made his third consecutive start and fourth in five
games, expected to have the night off. But No. 1 netminder Dan
Ellis was hit on the inside of his left knee with a shot during
the team’s morning skate and was unable to play.
“They told me this morning that I was going to start, so it was
just a routine game day for me,” Rinne said.
Ellis’ injury is not believed to be serious, but Rinne is
expected to start again Monday at St. Louis.
Minnesota has lost consecutive games for just the third time
this season and dropped three of its last four contests.
“It’s kind of frustrating knowing the game is right there, but I
think we can learn a lot from this game,” Harding said. “It’s
all about trying to keep the team in it and giving them a chance
The game was a stark difference in comparison to last week’s
meeting between the teams here. In that contest, the Wild
scored five power-play goals en route to a 6-2 victory.
“The last time we played Minnesota, we gave them a lot of
chances on the power play,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.
“We played them the wrong way last Saturday by being
undisciplined and taking too many penalties.”
Both teams were 0-for-3 with the man advantage in this one.
The Predators carried the play in the opening period of this
one, outshooting the Wild, 18-4. Harding was nearly as
impressive as Rinne, making a career-high 42 saves.
“There should be an urgency in our situation right now, and
there was not,” Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. “I
thought that our second and third periods were really good, but
their goalie was solid and we couldn’t get any goals.”