Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rinne survives three rushes without stick in Preds shootout win

The Nashville Predators defeated the St. Louis Blues in a shootout on Friday night by a score of 2-1. Pekka Rinne was stellar again for the Predators, stopping 35 of 36 St. Louis shots on the night.

Matt Halischuk got the early goal for the Predators to give them the 1-0 lead in the first period on a scrum in front of Jaroslav Halak. Nashville appeared to have a 2-0 lead when David Legwand deflected the puck into the net off of a Martin Erat pass. However, the goal was waved off due to a distinct kicking motion.

T.J. Oshie tied the game at one at 13:40 of the first period. The score remained tied at one for the remainder of regulation and overtime. Erat scored the lone goal in five rounds of a shootout to give Nashville the win. However, the Predators almost didn't make it to the shootout.

Throughout the course of the game, Rinne's stick was knocked out of his hand on three separate occasions. On all three occasions, he was able to weather the storm and, in some cases, make key saves without his stick.

"It's frustrating when you lose your stick. You kind of get in a little bit of a panic mode. You search for your stick and you've got to ask for your teammates help just to get the stick. It was just one of those nights," Rinne said.

A goalie playing without a stick makes shots on the blocker side, and on the ice, pretty difficult to stop. Rinne found that to be true on Friday night.

"If the shot is on the ice, it's hard to seal the five-hole without your stick. It's tough. You just try to kind of cover your five-hole and kind of cheat a little bit. Hopefully that doesn't happen every game," Rinne said.

Nashville will take on the Calgary Flames on New Years Day at Bridgestone Arena.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
2. Jaroslav Halak(STL)
3. Martin Erat(NSH)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
2. Jaroslav Halak(STL)
3. Martin Erat(NSH)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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