(SportsNetwork.com) – No team has been better at bouncing back from a loss
this season than the Nashville Predators.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne is a big reason why.
Rinne and the Predators try to avoid their first two-game losing streak of the
season on Tuesday night as they play host to the Boston Bruins.
Nashville has answered each of its 10 setbacks this season with a win,
something it will try to do again tonight following a 2-0 loss to the San Jose
Sharks on Saturday.
Rinne yielded only one goal on 33 shots faced, but the Sharks’ Antti Niemi
stopped all 29 Predator shots for the shutout. Nashville had 18 shots in the
third period, but could not score.
The Predators got a scare in the second period when captain Shea Weber was cut
under his arm when he came down on the left skate of Sharks forward Tye McGinn
at the end of a check in the second period. However, the defenseman later
returned to the game after having the cut addressed.
Saturday’s loss gave the Predators a 2-1 mark on their road trip and was only
their third setback in 10 games. Head coach Peter Laviolette said on Monday
that there is no secret as to why his club has yet to lose two in a row.
“We’ve got a hard-working group here that understands the recipe for success,”
Laviolette told Nashville’s website. “When you start removing an ingredient or
two, the recipe isn’t as good, and (the players) know that. We know exactly
what we have to do on the ice, and I think our practice and the video backs
that up. The results have followed our efforts when we play the right way.”
Of course, having Rinne in net helps too. He leads the NHL with 18 wins and a
1.75 goals against average, while his .937 save percentage is tied for tops in
Rinne is 2-0-1 in his career versus the Bruins with a 2.48 GAA and .923 save
The Bruins hit the road for three in a row and are coming off a 3-2 shootout
setback to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Tuukka Rask made 29 saves, but was
bested twice in the tiebreaker.
Loui Eriksson tallied and Craig Cunningham scored his first career goal for
the Bruins, who have won just twice in their past nine games (2-5-2).
Cunningham’s first tally came short-handed with 8:15 to play in the first
period as he chased down Zdeno Chara’s clearing attempt before unleashing a
slap shot into the net.
“(Chara) made a good play, kind of chipped it out of the zone,” said
Cunningham. “I think their d-men kind of got a little flat-footed, I took off,
buried my head and tried to get it on net. Luckily it went in.”
The Bruins could have a bit more luck on their side during this road trip as
forward David Krejci is expected to travel with the team. He has missed 10
straight with a groin injury, though it is unknown when he will be able to
Boston visits Minnesota on Wednesday and then caps its trip at Winnipeg on
Rask is 1-0-1 with a 2.91 GAA and .908 save percentage in two career meetings
with the Predators, while backup Niklas Svedberg has faced them once before.
That came in Svedberg’s NHL debut and only start of last season, a 3-2 victory
in overtime on Jan. 2. The rookie gave up only two goals on 35 shots faced.
That win by Svedberg came in the most recent encounter between the clubs and
stretched Boston’s series win streak to three in a row.