Weber rewards Rinne’s effort as Predators win in overtime

ST. LOUIS (Ticker) — One game after the Nashville Predators’
defense hung rookie goaltender Pekka Rinne out to dry, the
offense did enough to pick him up.

All-Star defenseman Shea Weber scored with 2:24 remaining in
overtime, lifting Rinne and the Predators to a 1-0 victory over
the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

Rinne stopped 30 shots for Nashville, which snapped a three-game
losing streak.

“We were more disciplined and didn’t take as many penalties,”
Rinne said. “We know that they have a pretty good power play.
And just overall I think we were much more solid defensively.
Personally I didn’t have to make too many special saves. I saw
the puck pretty well and the guys let me do my job.”

Chris Mason made 21 saves for the Blues, who dropped the second
game of a home-and-home series after defeating the Predators,
2-1, in overtime on Thursday.

“We knew it w as going to be a game like that,” Mason said. “It
was like good playoff hockey. You knew somebody was going to
get the goal and it’s unfortunate that they did. This time of
year it’s going to be one goal games.

“We have to realize a little more that every play matters. It
doesn’t matter if it’s a scoring chance or a great defensive
play. Every little thing counts.”

The starter for the Rookies in the YoungStars Game as part of
the All-Star Weekend festivities last month, Rinne made 34 saves
Thursday before surrendering the game-winning goal to Keith
Tkachuk two seconds after killing a power play.

In this one, Rinne was impenetrable, turning aside nine shots in
both the first and third periods and stopping 12 shots in the
second to notch his fifth shutout of the season.

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“It was an excellent hockey game,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz
said. “It was a typical St. Louis-Nashville game that took more
than 60 minutes. Both teams worked really hard and it could
have been anybody’s game. I thought both teams played a real
solid game.

“We had chances, they had chances. I think both teams really
battled hard. It was a real big one, we need that. They came
in and got the extra point in our building and we wanted to do
the same right back at them. We just shortened the distance to
the goal line now.”

Weber gave the Finn all the support he needed on the lone shot
of the extra session, accepting a feed from J.P. Dumont and
firing a slap shot from the slot that sailed by Mason.

“These two points are huge,” Weber said. “The race is so tight
right now. You need to get two points every night. You can
fall out of the race in the matter of two or three games. So we
need to stay focused. We have another big two points on

Making his 15th consecutive start, Mason was stellar for St.
Louis. The 32-year-old has surrendered one goal or fewer in
four of his last five appearances.

“Their goaltender played tremendously and we weren’t good enough
on our finish,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “We weren’t good
and their penalty killing was good. We didn’t manage the puck
very well.”