Rinne shines in return, Predators beat Lightning 4-1
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Pekka Rinne didn’t miss a beat after being sidelined for two weeks.
“Anytime you miss time, you’re a little nervous,” Rinne said. “I was happy that we played one of the top teams. You have to have a mindset that you might be busy. I felt good, and obviously very happy with the win.”
Rinne was hurt in the third period of a 5-3 victory at Calgary on Oct. 19. He was stretching to try and stop the puck when teammate Kevin Fiala landed on top of the goalie in an awkward-looking collision.
Kyle Turris, Roman Josi, Calle Jarnkrok and Miikka Salomaki scored, and Ryan Johansen had two nifty assists for the Predators. Right wing Viktor Arvidsson, who has eight goals and 12 points, was a late scratch due to a lower-body injury and is day to day.
The Predators reached 10 wins in 13 games, the fastest in franchise history. The previous mark was 15 games, done three times.
Nashville (6-0-0) became the fifth team in NHL history to start a season with six or more consecutive road wins.
“We had our chances,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
Rinne made an outstanding save four minutes into the game when he lifted his right pad while lunging to the right and stopped Brayden Point’s rebound shot.
“He looked really sharp to me,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “He was brilliant. He needed to be — they’re a dangerous team.”
Rinne has 315 NHL wins and is four short of tying Miikka Kiprusoff for the most by a Finnish-born player.
Turris opened the scoring at 6:02 of the first before Josi made it 2-0 with 6.4 seconds left in the period off a backhand pass through the crease by Johansen.
“It was pretty unreal,” Rinne said of Johansen’s pass from near the left-wing boards. “A beautiful goal. It was pretty cool to see in a game.”
Koekkoek snapped a 16-game goal drought and cut the deficit to 2-1 from the left circle at 14:21 of the second.
Tampa Bay outshot the Predators 17-4 in the period.
“The ice was lopsided at that point,” Laviolette said.
Johansen made another backhand pass to set up Jarnkrok’s goal with 3:18 to play.
“They made us pay for the looks that we gave them,” Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said.
Salomaki added an empty-netter.
Nashville has earned a point in 13 of its last 14 games (11-1-2) against the Lightning.
NOTES: Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman (shoulder) sat out his third straight game and could miss games at Montreal and Ottawa this weekend. LW Ondrej Palat (foot) also was sidelined for the third consecutive game. … Nashville LW Zac Rinaldo (lower body) didn’t play. … Laviolette coached his 1,100th NHL game.
Predators: Host the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Lightning: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.