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Rinne, Predators blank Islanders

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

good steps."

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

tonight."

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."

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