By Jim Diamond
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) — Rookie Pekka Rinne stopped all
23 shots he faced to make Vernon Fiddler’s first-period goal
stand up as the Nashville Predators defeated the New York
Islanders, 1-0, Saturday night.
Rinne stopped 10 shots in the first period, eight in the second
and five in the third to improve his record to 7-1-0 on the
season. Three of the Finn’s victories have been shutouts.
“It’s not just me getting the shutouts, we win as a team and we
lose as a team,” Rinne said. “Lately the guys in front of me
have been playing great, and I have been playing well, so that
is a good combination.”
Joey MacDonald finished with 27 saves for the the free-falling
Islanders, who lost their ninth consecutive game.
“Nobody is going to get us out of this slump but ourselves, we
know this and the coaches know this,” MacDonald said. “It’s a
tough slump we’re in now, but I thought tonight we made a few
Fiddler scored the lone goal at 6:48 of the opening period.
Martin Erat carried the puck into the offensive zone along the
left side on a 2-on-1 with Fiddler against defenseman Brendan
Witt. From the faceoff circle, Erat sent a cross-ice pass to
Fiddler, who accepted the feed and beat MacDonald low to the
glove side for his fifth goal of the season.
“We were able to win the draw and Rich Peverley made a nice chip
to Marty,” Fiddler said. “It was a great play by Marty to get
it to me.”
“The goalie was out of the blue, and I saw that Vern was on his
one-timer side, so I passed to him and he put it in,” Erat said.
“Rich, Vern and I had a pretty good game together as a line
Fiddler has scored goals in back-to-back contests.
Nashville has scored just one goal in five of its last seven
games, but has won two of those games by 1-0 margins.
“We are not scoring a lot of goals right now, but we are winning
hockey games,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “As long as we
are winning, there is less frustration. When you are not
scoring and not winning is when the frustration sets in.”
The Islanders were playing their first game in Nashville in
nearly three years. They have lost four consecutive games
played in “Music City”.
“I thought our guys did a pretty good job defensively,” New York
coach Scott Gordon said. “We can’t take anything away from the
effort the guys gave with a depleted lineup.”