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Rinne, Predators blank Coyotes

GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne's

biggest challenge Saturday night was his defense's efficiency.

Rinne made 18 saves for his seventh shutout of the season, and

J.P. Dumont and David Legwand scored in the Predators' 2-0

victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Rinne faced only eight shots over the first two periods, causing

some concern for Nashville coach Barry Trotz.

"I was worried after two periods that they didn't have a lot of

shots," Trotz said. "I knew they'd have their best effort in

the third, come with everything and that we'd have to weather

some storms. Pekka was up to the challenge."

Rinne stayed focused by playing the puck whenever it came near

him, infrequent as the chances may have been.

"Obviously, it's hard when you only face eight shots in the

first two periods," Rinne said. "But it's all mental. You just

try to be sharp. They didn't have anything the first two

periods and the guys showed how important a game it is. It's a

life or die game for us."

The Predators snapped a three-game losing streak, and moved into

a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with Edmonton -

a point behind Dallas.

Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves for the Coyotes, who have lost five

straight and eight of their last nine. Phoenix is 4-16-1 since

the All-Star break.

"I thought it might have been his best game of the year tonight

and he's had a few good ones," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said.

Dumont opened the scoring with 5:59 left in the second period,

one-timing Steve Sullivan's pass over Bryzgalov's right shoulder

from the high slot.

Legwand added an empty-netter with 30.3 seconds left, skating in

from center ice and flipping the puck into the net from the left

faceoff circle.

Rinne rarely was tested, facing only four shots each in the

first and second periods. The Coyotes managed 10 shots in the

final period, but had almost no real scoring chances.

"The problem is it was all in the third period," Coyotes captain

Shane Doan said. "Eight shots after two periods in your home

building, it's embarrassing. It's going to be better moving

forward. It will be better."

Rinne is 12-3-1 since February 1 and recorded his third shutout

in six weeks. Three of those wins have come against the

Coyotes, with Rinne stopping 72 of 74 shots.

"We all knew Pekka was a solid goaltender but what he's done

this year has been pretty amazing," Dumont said. "We have two

good goaltenders and we know every time they make a big save we

have to score big goals for them."

The Predators were without center Jason Arnott and Radek Bonk.

Arnott has missed consecutive games with an upper body injury,

while Bonk has been out of the lineup since February 22, also

because of an upper body injury.



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