NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Predators have come to expect this kind of performance from Pekka Rinne.
Rinne had 20 saves in his 100th career win, 3-0 over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
“He made a couple of saves in the second period that I thought were outstanding,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “I thought he stood tall. He shut the door. He was a big part of our win.”
The shutout was his franchise-record 22nd and second this season.
“It’s a nice number,” Rinne said of the club’s shutout record. “Hopefully, there are many more to come. I’ve played with good teams and good players.
“They are individual stats and records, but they are also team records. I’m really proud. There have been great goalies in this organization,” he added. “Being able to do these things is more than I ever imagined.”
Patric Hornqvist, Martin Erat and Shea Weber scored for Nashville in the first meeting between the two teams since the Predators beat the Ducks in the opening round of the playoffs last season.
Hornqvist wasted little time putting the Predators on the board, scoring 14 seconds into the game. In a crowd in front of the net, Hornqvist took a rebound of his own shot that went off the left leg pad of Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller and backhanded the puck past Hiller’s outstretched leg.
“I just tried to jam it, jam it, jam it and finally he must have slipped or something,” Hornqvist said. “It was like I had an open net. Good things happen when you throw pucks at the net.”
With 7:19 left in the first period Nashville’s Mike Fisher was knocked down in the centre ice circle by Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin, who was penalized for an illegal check to the head. Fisher, playing in only his third game of the season after having shoulder surgery, has an upper body injury.
“It was a pretty decent hit,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “It was shoulder on shoulder, and it’s unfortunate that Fisher was unable to come back. When we looked at the replay it looked like the point of contact was the shoulder. It looked like Beauchemin’s shoulder hit his shoulder and then it looked like their helmets hit.
“But I’m not the league and I’m not paid to make the decisions that are going to come down,” he said. “We’ll hear about it if they deem it is something we need to talk about.”
Trotz said that he would leave the decision up to the league. He added that Fisher will be tested and is day to day.
Erat, back on the ice after missing the last eight games with an upper body injury, scored his first goal of the season with 1:01 remaining in the first period. Jordin Tootoo passed the puck from the right circle to Erat as he skated in from the left side. Erat found the upper part of the net with a wrist shot from low on the left side.
The teams were scoreless in the second period.
At 2:14 of the third period Weber hit a shot on the power play from just inside the blue line for his first goal of the season.
The Predators had been outshot in nine straight games this season but managed to outshoot Anaheim 29-20.
“We’re getting better,” Weber said. “I still don’t think we are as good as we can be. We haven’t quite played a 60-minute game.”
NOTES: Rinne has started all 10 games this season, a franchise record. … Nashville’s Ryan Suter was credited with two assists. … Anaheim’s Corey Perry ended a six-game points streak which was tied for the longest points streak of the season.