Preds' Rinne makes 32 saves, earns 5th shutout
DALLAS (AP) — The Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars entered their matchup with key offensive players out of action.
Pekka Rinne and the rest of the Predators' defense made sure Nashville needed only a bit of scoring to win.
Rinne stopped 32 shots for his NHL-leading fifth shutout of the season, and Shea Weber and Gabriel Bourque scored power-play goals to lift the Predators to a 4-0 win over the Stars on Tuesday night.
Despite leading scorer Colin Wilson and top-six forward Patric Hornqvist being out because of upper body injuries, the Predators snapped a six-game, road-losing streak (0-5-1) on the first stop of a five-game trip.
Nick Spaling added a goal, and Rich Clune scored on a penalty shot for the Predators. David Legwand and Craig Smith both had two assists.
"It's a huge trip for us. It's obviously nice to get that first game right away, get a big win. This is what we needed," said Rinne, who has allowed one goal over his last three outings. "We scored timely goals, and our penalty kill tonight was really good. I think it was a strong game defensively."
Kari Lehtonen made 17 saves for the Stars, who had scored at least three goals in 13 of 15 games. Dallas, which was shut out for the third time this season, has one goal in its last two games after totaling 19 in the previous five.
"Certainly, we needed to be a little bit better in a bunch of areas," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We played soft, we didn't go to the hard areas to score, we didn't force it down their throat. We just thought, 'Maybe we'll get some fluff or get a bounce, maybe one will come to me at the back door, whatever.'
"You've got to jam it down their throat, come after them."
Nashville scored on two of four power plays and turned aside Dallas' four advantages. The Predators are 5-for-10 on the power play in their last three games after a 1-for-14 slump in the previous six.
"We need our special teams to be good, and they ended up being pretty good on both ends," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "The best penalty killer was obviously our goaltender, who was outstanding. But a lot of guys contributed. You just had a lot of people step up, a lot of the younger guys are stepping up."
Although veteran forward Ray Whitney returned after missing 16 games because of a broken foot, the Stars were without top-line center Jamie Benn (wrist) and captain Brenden Morrow, who sat out a second game (groin).
The Stars began a season-high, four-game homestand as part of a stretch in which they will play nine of 11 in Dallas. They fell to 5-5-1 there.
"Every game is important now, especially the home games," Stars winger Loui Eriksson said. "I thought we had some really good chances. I don't know, we just have to be better to score the goals there."
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
- 13316Oklahoma tornadoes: Plaza Towers Elementary School teacher shoved students into bathroom as wall collapsed
- 11704Oklahoma tornadoes: Cost, custom keep basements scarce
- 5428Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 5363Downtown wish list includes Super Target
- 4511OU softball: Sooners inspired by Casey Angle, run-rule Texas A&M
- 4209Oklahoma City pastor will face trial in fatal shooting of son-in law
- 3958How to help tornado victims