Pittsburgh, PA — The Nashville Predators defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins behind some stellar goaltending from Pekka Rinne tonight, 3-1.
The win avenges a loss to these Pens last week at Bridgestone Arena, as the Preds fell in a shootout.
Combined with a loss last night by the Winnipeg Jets, and a loss tonight by the St. Louis Blues, the Predators are still very much alive to win the central division of the Western Conference.
All facets of Nashville’s game were on point tonight, with exceptional defense and a power play goal by Viktor Arvidsson.
The tone of the game was set early as Craig Smith put the Predators on the scoreboard just 1:35 into the opening frame, deflecting a Matt Irwin shot from the point past Matt Murray and Nashville took the early 1-0 lead. The Penguins then took over the first period firing 22 shots on goal, but failing to score. Rinne kept his team in this one as the first period came to a close.
Viktor Arvidsson then went to work in the second frame at 17:36 when he buried a wrist shot from the circle as the Predators were on the power play and Nashville took a 2-0 lead. The score was Arvidssons 100th career goal.
Nashville would come out in the third period feeling in complete control of the contest and at 17:28 of the third period, P.K. Subban fired a laser from the point that beat Murray, and Nashville had command of this game, 3-0.
Pittsburgh would get on the board though, spoiling Rinne’s shutout, as Nick Bjugstad scored on a wrap-around goal to put the Pens on the board for the final score, 3-1.
Pekka Rinne had never won a game on Pittsburgh’s home ice. He faced 43 shots on goal tonight to get the win. The Predators are now tied for first place with the Jets and have a four point cushion over the Blues as the regular season winds down.
Nashville will turn around and host the Columbus Blue Jackets tomorrow night in Nashville, then travel to Buffalo on Tuesday. They will finish the season at home, facing Vancouver on Thursday and Chicago on Saturday night.
The Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 10th.