Pekka 'big man' for tired Preds

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

The Nashville Predators could have been excused for their lack of jump, having played in Vancouver the night before and getting into Edmonton late.

Fortunately for them, goaltender Pekka Rinne was on his game.

The Predators goalie made 38 saves last night in a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

"Tonight, I felt good out there," Rinne said. "We started the game really well, got a few early goals and that kind of saved us tonight.

"We didn't finish the game really strong.

"After the first period we kind of gave up the momentum, they got it and lucky for us we were able to hold onto the lead and win the game."

'WON THE GAME'

Predators defenceman Shea Weber also referred to momentum in praising his goalie.

"Without him, it could have been a totally different game," said Weber.

"Momentum can change pretty fast and he really won the game for us.

"We did have a good start, but he held the lead for us the rest of the game."

29 OVER 2

Rinne made 29 saves over the first two periods, providing the type of goaltending the Oilers weren't able to get.

He had help in the form of a 3-0 lead as the Predators beat Oilers goaltender Jeff Deslauriers three times on 11 shots in the opening frame.

"Pekka was a big part of the win," said Predators head coach Barry Trotz.

"Once we got the lead, we lost a lot of our details and just played Kitty bar the door and Peks had to make a lot of real good saves.

"He's a terrific goaltender, he's a big man, he's very mobile and he can steal you games."

Rinne was at his best in the second period as the Oilers attempted to claw back into the contest. He turned away all 16 shots he faced, as the Predators to take a 4-0 lead into the intermission.

In the third, J-F Jacques and Ryan Potulny scored for the Oilers to make things interesting, while Dustin Penner netted a late power-play marker with a two-man advantage.

In his previous outing against the Oilers, Rinne was pulled after giving up two goals on four shots.

At times it appeared as Rinne was the only Predator with anything left in the tank.

"It's tough for everybody, travelling and playing, but it's the same for every team, so you can't really use that as an excuse," Rinne said.

"But for me personally, I felt fresh, I didn't play (Monday) night and that was kind of the plan to play Dan Ellis in Vancouver and me here.

"That obviously worked well for us."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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