NASHVILLE â€” Pekka Rinne is on quite a streak against the Edmonton Oilers.
Rinne stopped 31 shots for his 42nd career shutout, leading the Nashville Predators to a 2-0 victory over the Oilers on Thursday night.
Rinne beat the Oilers for the eighth straight time â€” including three shutouts â€” and improved to 17-6-1 in his career against them.
“It’s funny how it goes sometime â€” you have a lot of success against one team and for me, it seems to be that team,” Rinne said. “I try not to pay attention to those things too much. Every time, it’s a new game and a new challenge. This year, they have a totally different team and a lot of skill and talent in their group.”
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette was impressed by his goalie’s performance.
“He was unbelievable tonight,” Laviolette said. “As good as it feels to walk away with a shutout, we still gave up a lot of chances to a very good team and a very talented team. The fact that it remained a zero has an awful lot to do with him and the way he played tonight. He was outstanding.”
Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen each had a goal and an assist to help Nashville win for the second time in three games.
Cam Talbot made 25 saves for Edmonton, which has lost two straight.
“Again, that was a playoff game,” Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. “I thought it had playoff intensity and we’re at that time of year. We didn’t make many mistakes. We made a few and they capitalized on it. I thought they had more players going than we did.”
Arvidsson scored the game’s first goal at 1:26 of the second period. He carried the puck up ice and sent a slap shot from the right faceoff dot high to the short side over Talbot’s glove for his 13th.
Johansen doubled the Nashville lead in the final minute of the second. With the puck just inside the Edmonton blue line, Filip Forsberg stickhandled past three Oilers players before sending a pass to Arvidsson at the right faceoff dot. There, Arvidsson slid a cross-ice pass to Johansen at the left dot, where he beat Talbot with a one-timer.
“I haven’t tried that in my whole NHL career,” Johansen said of Forsberg’s move. “For a guy to have confidence going up against NHL defencemen and being able to pull that stuff off, it’s impressive. Even as his linemate watching that, he really does have an elite level of talent.”
Early in the second, Rinne kept the game scoreless, making three consecutive saves on Edmonton defenceman Oscar Klefbom with the final two coming at close range.
“We created some pressure at times, not enough to get one past a really good goaltender,” Oilers forward Milan Lucic said. “It came down to two turnovers in the neutral zone that end up in our net. We had some odd-man rushes, especially in the second period there where we didn’t capitalize. That’s the game.”
Rinne had to be sharp at the start of the third as well, stopping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on a breakaway at 29 seconds.
NOTES: Nashville D Matt Irwin played his 200th career NHL game. … Johansen has four points in two games against the Oilers this season. … Nashville is 16-1-5 when scoring first. … Lucic played his 700th career NHL game. … The Oilers have not allowed a power-play goal against in their last four games.
Oilers: At Carolina on Friday night.
Predators: Host Detroit on Saturday night.
Jim Diamond, The Associated Press