Pekka Rinne put on an other-wordly performance.
The Nashville Predators concluded their four-game road trip against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night and behind a spectacular performance from Pekka Rinne they picked up a 3-2 shootout win.
The Predators allowed a season-high 49 shots on net on Saturday, but the man between the pipes didn’t let that turn out to be a difference maker as Rinne was a wall in net. The Predators did not look like the better team for the majority of the contest, but Rinne stepped up and stole the game for Nashville while recording 47 stops, the second highest save total of his career.
The Predators and Canadiens played to a scoreless first period after Montreal led the shots on goal count 9-5. The Preds were whistled for two minor penalties while the Habs committed one minor penalty in the first 20 minutes of action. During all situations, the Canadiens created the lone high-danger scoring chance in what was a tight-knit opening frame.
The scoring did however get going in the second period. Montreal was the first to light the lamp with Brendan Gallagher following up a rebound with 11:25 left in the frame. Following the tally the game slowed down and fell in the Canadiens’ favor. The Preds looked like the team on the tail-end of a four-game road trip and couldn’t sustain any sort of offensive pressure. Montreal was creating odd-man rushes consistently making the Preds the team chasing.
Nevertheless, the Predators were able to tie the contest up with 3:38 remaining in the period. Nick Bonino and Scott Hartnell flipped the bouncing puck between one another before it found Hartnell’s stick and slid into the back of the net. With the game tied at 1-1 after 40 minutes of action, the Habs led in the shots on goal category by the count of 17-12.
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The third period carried much of the same feel and momentum as the first two. Montreal looked to be the team with the edge on its side getting the puck into the dangerous areas, but the Preds were able to grab their first lead of the night.
With 7:41 left in regulation, the puck fell to Ryan Johansen to the right of the crease before he flipped a no-look pass off of a Canadien that fell perfectly to Kevin Fiala who lifted the puck home.
Montreal didn’t go away quietly as it sent the game into overtime late. The Canadiens elected to pull Carey Price for the extra attacker and they converted with 1:14 left on the clock as Jonathan Drouin blasted a slap shot nearside that got by Rinne.
The overtime period was all Montreal as well, but Rinne continued his dominance stopping all 10 of the shots he faced. He stood strong during the shootout as well stopping all three of the shooters he faced as Ryan Ellis scored the game winner for Nashville with his goal in the first-round of the shootout.
Saturday marked the fourth straight game to go to overtime for the Preds, but unlike Thursday night Nashville was the team that walked away with the extra point.
Rinne improved to 28-8-4 on the year and has won four of his last five starts.