Chicago at Nashville

Predators 5, Blackhawks 3


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne figured he had nothing to lose in his NHL debut.

It worked out even better as Rinne made 35 saves in Nashville's 5-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

"They told me at the morning skate that I was going to start," said Rinne, recalled Wednesday from Milwaukee of the AHL. "After they told me, it was a pretty normal game day for me. I was so excited. When they drop the puck you don't have time to think about anything. If you do, then you are going to get beat."

Rinne is the fourth goaltender used by the Predators this season. He was recalled after Nashville backup Chris Mason sustained a groin injury during warmups Tuesday night at Florida. Brian Finley, also recalled from Milwaukee, lost 7-3 that night, prompting the decision to start Rinne.

"Brian is going to be OK," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "He was the best goaltender in the AHL last month. He had a bad experience. He will regroup. We have confidence in that."

The Predators also have confidence in Rinne who will probably be in goal Saturday night against Columbus if Mason is not ready.

The Blackhawks tested Rinne early as Mark Bell scored a short-handed goal on a wrist shot from low in the slot that went in at 2:29 of the first period.

"The first shot Rinne gets in the NHL is ripped right by him," Trotz said. "How a player responds to that tells you a lot about a player. And he responded very well."

Paul Kariya tied it for Nashville 92 seconds into the middle period, shooting a one-timer through traffic from high in the slot past goalie Craig Anderson.

Martin Erat put Nashville ahead 2-1 at 10:32 of the period. Yanic Perreault gave the Predators a two-goal lead 6:17 later, pushing the puck into an empty net with Anderson out of position after taking a pass from Steve Sullivan.

Nashville's Vernon Fiddler skated through the slot on a short breakaway and put the puck high above Anderson's left shoulder at 1:48 to make it 4-1.

"With the two new goalies, we have to give them support," Fiddler said. "It is an adjustment to come to Nashville. We didn't give Finley a lot of help. We played a little better in front of Pekka and he really stood in there."

Less than a minute later, Tyler Arnason cut the deficit to two goals. Anton Babchuk followed with his first goal of the season, to make it 4-3. But Sullivan restored Nashville's two-goal lead with his 13th goal, a short-handed tally on a breakaway.

"It's hard to hold onto a lead in the NHL unless you can lock things down and get a team out of synch," Trotz said.

The Blackhawks were unable to score on nine power-play opportunities. The Predators scored on 1-of-9.

"When we did generate chances they made a couple of good saves," Chicago coach Trent Yawney said. "We definitely have to be better. It has to come from within. We have to be smarter with the puck."


RW Jordin Tootoo was back in a Nashville uniform for the first time since the season opener, replacing Jeremy Stevenson who is out for a month with a knee injury. Tootoo was recalled earlier in the day from Milwaukee. Pavel Vorobiev's assist on Bell's goal gave him four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in three games.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Chicago (12-16-2)1023
Nashville  (19-7-3) «0325
Three Stars
V. Fiddler

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
M. Bell

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
P. Rinne

Saves: 35
Save Pct.: .921

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Scoring Summary
02:29Short - Mark Bell (12), Snap Shot - Assist: Pavel Vorobiev
01:32Paul Kariya (10), Wrist Shot - Assists: Scottie Upshall and Jamie Allison
10:32Martin Erat (8), Wrist Shot - Assists: Scott Hartnell and Danny Markov
16:49Power Play - Yanic Perreault (8), Slap Shot - Assists: Steve Sullivan and Kimmo Timonen
01:48Vernon Fiddler (2), Backhand Shot - Assists: Scott Hartnell and Adam Hall
02:26Tyler Arnason (8), Snap Shot - Assist: Jaroslav Spacek
06:17Anton Babchuk, Snap Shot - Assists: Matthew Barnaby and Jim Dowd
12:15Short - Steve Sullivan (13), Snap Shot - Assists: Jerred Smithson and Kimmo Timonen
Penalty Summary
00:43Lapointe: Interference - 2 min.
03:33Bell: Hooking - 2 min.
04:43Erat: Holding the stick - 2 min.
05:40Sullivan: Hooking - 2 min.
12:53Vandermeer: Interference - 2 min.
16:11Hordichuk: Kneeing - 2 min.
17:05Sharp: Holding the stick - 2 min.
17:53Vandermeer: Cross Check - 2 min.
18:22Sullivan: Tripping - 2 min.
07:50Hilbert: Hooking - 2 min.
11:41Zidlicky: Hooking - 2 min.
13:19Smithson: Tripping - 2 min.
15:03Sharp: Hooking - 2 min.
17:28Fiddler: Roughing - 2 min.
02:49Thornton: Roughing - 2 min.
10:46Hamhuis: Interference - 2 min.
14:05Vandermeer: Interference - 2 min.
16:24Upshall: Too Many Men on the Ice(bench) - 2 min.
Chicago11918 38
Nashville12118 31
Attendance - 11701
Game Time - 60:00
Referees - Mike Hasenfratz, Don Koharski
Line Judges - Mike Cvik, Jay Sharrers
Other Games
Van 5 Final
Phi 4
Colu 1 Final
Car 2
Dal 2 Final
Ott 0
Atl 3 Final
NJ 2
Det 2 Final
Fla 3
Bos 3 Final
Min 2
Mon 3 Final
Edm 5
TB 3 Final
Pho 1