NASHVILLE – This time, the Columbus Blue Jackets have Cody Franson and Pekka Rinne to thank for extending their misery in Music City.
Franson scored 1:54 into overtime and Rinne posted his second straight shutout as the Nashville Predators stretched their winning streak to five games with a 1-0 victory over the Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Rinne and Columbus counterpart Steve Mason were equally stingy during regulation time. Rinne stopped all 32 shots he saw in the first 60 minutes and then one more in overtime. Mason made 30 saves, all in regulation.
“When the game is 0-0 in the third period, then you start thinking that you are only going to need one goal,” Rinne said. “It was a very disciplined game. I think everyone knew it was just a matter of one goal.”
Three of Rinne’s last four wins have been by shutout. He has gone 132 minutes, 36 seconds without allowing a goal.
“He’s been really sharp,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s doing a good job. He’s moving, his hands have been good, he’s been seeing the puck, and obviously playing very well for us.”
Franson beat Mason with a slap shot from the right point through traffic. It was the rookie’s sixth goal of the season and third game-winner.
“I didn’t see anybody there and we had guys going to the net, so I just tried to put it there,” Franson said. “It went off his blocker a little bit and trickled around and went over the line.”
Mason thought he should have had the shot.
“I didn’t read it off of his stick very well, and he has a hard shot,” he said. “It snuck through I guess. At the end of the day, I made that one mistake there at the end and it cost the team the game.”
Columbus had its two-game winning run snapped.
“Steve Mason, for me, was fabulous,” Columbus coach Claude Noel said. “He saved us. I thought everyone, from Mason right on up played tremendously. It was a great game for us.”
The Predators have beaten the Blue Jackets 14 consecutive times in Nashville. It is the NHL’s longest home winning streak over another team. All three of Nashville’s home wins over Columbus this season have required extra time. The first two were decided in shootouts.
Rinne denied Columbus defenceman Mike Commodore on a breakaway 39 seconds into overtime. Commodore tried to beat Rinne with a wrist shot from the low slot, but the goalie snared it with his glove to keep the Predators’ hope alive.
“It’s not my year, it just isn’t my year,” Commodore said. “It’s not like I practice those a whole lot, so I can’t be too disappointed. I should have shot low. I shot high and he caught it.”
Commodore has yet to score this season. His last goal came Feb. 14, 2009, a span of 73 games.
NOTES: Nashville C Dustin Boyd played in his 200th NHL game. … The Blue Jackets haven’t scored a power-play goal in four games. … Nashville won five of six from Columbus in the season series. … Predators RW Martin Erat, who earned an assist on Franson’s goal, has points in four consecutive games. Rookie Colin Wilson also recorded an assist on the play, giving him three points in two games.