Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne stopped all 19 Phoenix shots to pick up his second straight shutout as the Predators knocked off the Coyotes 3-0 Thursday night. Rinne had to be at his best as the game was scoreless heading into the the third period.
Gabriel Bourque, Nick Spaling and Mike Fisher scored the goals for the Predators while Martin Erat picked up a pair of assists in the win. Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith turned away 26 of 29 Nashville shots in the loss.
SPIN: The Predators actually outshot an opponent for just the second time this season. It still doesn’t mean that their skaters are worth starting but Rinne has been en fuego lately. My only concern is that Rinne can’t be relied on to shutout the opposition each night and the offense needs to carry that team at times. So far, that hasn’t happened this season.
Phoenix didn’t really bring much to the table in this one. Keith Yandle led Phoenix with four shots and defenseman Derek Morris exited the game early with an upper-body injury. His status for the Coyotes’ next game (Saturday vs Columbus) is unknown.
The Islanders slipped past the Rangers 4-3 in a shootout in another round of the Battle of New York. John Tarvares scored his eighth goal of the season and the winner in the shootout. Carl Hagelin scored for the Rangers, his third straight game with a goal for the Broadway Blueshirts. Evgeni Nabokov turned away 36 Ranger shots to get the win. The Isles ended their five-game slide.
SPIN:Nabokov has started 11 of 13 games this season for the Islanders so Rick DiPietro is relegated to backup duty and is not worth owning on a roster at this point. Brad Richards got benched for the third period by head coach John Tortorella but got on the ice for a couple overtime shifts. I wouldn’t anticipate him doing something rash, like, sending him down to the minors but keep an eye on his ice time over the next couple games. Hagelin’s been picking up heat lately with four goals in three games and, as mentioned earlier, he was going to score against someone other than Tampa and he did.
Colorado defeated Minnesota 4-3 in a shootout. Mikko Koivu had a goal and an assist in the loss while Dany Heatley picked up a couple helpers for the Wild. These two teams average two goals a game so this outcome was much more offensive than projected. Milan Hejduk scored for the Avalanche and picked up his 800th career point.
SPIN: Jean-Sebastien Giguere made the start in goal for the Avalanche, his second of the season. Giguere is 2-0 this season but has allowed three goals in each of his two starts. Colorado is just 2-for-18 on the power play in its last five games. And there’s just not much else to say here…moving on.
Carolina posted a 3-1 win over Toronto and shut down the Leafs’ four-game winning streak. Joe Corvo had a goal and an assist while Jeff Skinner had two assists in the win. Dan Ellis got the start in goal for Carolina and he stopped 22 of 23 Leaf shots to get the win.
SPIN: Don’t look now but Carolina is 8-2-1 in its last 11 games. Eric Staal now has points in 11 straight games with an assist on the Canes’ first goal of the night. Skinner has been hot with a six-game point streak (two goals and six assists). Ben Scrivens has been soaking up the playing time while James Reimer is out with an MCL injury. I would expect Reimer to be out a couple weeks since that’s a key ligament used by goaltenders and takes a lot of strain going up and down from their feet to knees and back. It’s the same thing that Miikka Kiprusoff is suffering from right now.
Washington picked up its third straight win with a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay. Eric Fehr scored twice and Mathieu Perrault chipped in three assists to fuel the Washington win. Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist in the loss.
SPIN: The Lightning have their offense back as they scored three but fell short for the sixth straight game (0-5-1). Mathieu Garon got the start over Anders Lindback who has been ill as of late. St. Louis got his first goal in 10 games when he scored in this game. Thankfully he’s still getting the assists to boost his point total but it’s nice to see him score again. Alex Ovehckin had five shots but no goals ending a run of three straight games with a goal.
Montreal edged past Florida 1-0 in overtime. Rene Bourque scored the game-winner 2:10 into overtime for Montreal and Carey Price turned aside 26 shots to post the shutout. Jose Theodore stopped 31 of 32 shots but takes the hard-luck loss.
SPIN: Through sixty minutes, these teams were scoreless on Valentine’s Day. All poor attempts at humor aside, Price continues to play like he’s the real deal and is quickly becoming one of the elite goaltenders in fantasy after a weak 2011-2012 campaign. Theodore is starting to play much better in goal for the Panthers. He’s actually 3-1-1 in his last five starts and the lone loss was when the Caps shelled him 5-0 a few days ago. His save percentage looks brutal but he’s getting just enough support to get it done. Theodore will be a goaltender who can be used for a little more than spot duty now as long as he’s putting up the W’s.
Multiple Goal Scorers
Stat of the Night
Rinne has shutouts in three of his last four starts. He blanked Los Angeles, San Jose and Phoenix within a week of each other. The only time he allowed a goal was when he allowed three to Chicago this past Saturday in a 3-0 loss.
Three Stars of the Night
1. Rinne Consecutive shutouts and 137:14 scoreless streak
2. Price Blanked Florida in a 1-0 overtime win.
3. Fehr Scored a pair as the Caps kept rolling
Friday’s Schedule (all times ET)
Boston at Buffalo 7pm The Sabres are the only team to deal the 8-1-2 Bruins a regulation loss this season.
Philadelphia at New Jersey 7pm The Flyers try to get to .500 again as they take on the Eastern Conference’s best team.
Pittsburgh at Winnipeg 7pm The Penguins have the best goal differential in the Eastern Conference at +11.
Anaheim at Detroit 730pm The Ducks have made a Fasth and Furious move to second place in the Western Conference.
San Jose at Chicago 830pm The luster is off this game since the Sharks are 0-3-3 in their last six.
St. Louis at Calgary 9pm The Blues have the league’s best power play (34.1%) and have scored on the man advantage in six straight games.
Dallas at Vancouver 10pm Ryan Kesler has been medically cleared to play for the Canucks but is unlikely to make his season debut for this one.
Columbus at Los Angeles 1030pm The defending champs host Columbus. The loser gets the Western Conference cellar all to themselves.