Pekka Rinne made 29 saves and scored an empty-net goal, making him the first goaltender to score a goal since Mike Smith in 2013, and the Nashville Predators pulled away for a 5-2 win over the host Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
Rinne gathered the puck behind his own net and flipped a shot high and down the middle of the ice. It bounced a few times and scurried into the open net with 21.4 seconds left. Rinne hoisted both arms in the air as teammates mobbed him for the rare achievement, which last took place when Smith scored Oct. 19, 2013, for the then-Phoenix Coyotes in a game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Rinne is the 12th goaltender ever credited with a goal, and the eighth to score with his own shot.
Viktor Arvidsson, Colin Blackwell, Matt Duchene and Nick Bonino also scored for the Predators, who earned their first win under new head coach John Hynes.
Dominik Kubalik and Alex DeBrincat each scored for Chicago, which fell behind by three goals in the first period before trying to rally back. The Blackhawks have dropped back-to-back games.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 25 saves but fell to 7-13-2.
Nashville opened the scoring 3:16 into the first period on Arvidsson’s 10th goal of the season and the 112th of his career, all of which have come with the Predators. That pushed him past Mike Fisher (111 goals) for sole possession of sixth place on the team’s all-time list.
Arvidsson flashed a big grin at teammate Roman Josi, who set up the goal with a terrific drive toward the low slot while weaving through several Blackhawks defenders. Josi, who extended his career-long point streak to 12 games, flipped a backhand shot that Arvidsson deflected into the open net.
About five minutes later, Nashville increased its lead to 2-0 on Blackwell’s first career NHL goal. The 26-year-old Harvard product capitalized on a turnover and beat Crawford with a rising shot.
The Predators made it 3-0 with 3:05 remaining in the first period. Mattias Ekholm kept the puck in on a failed clearing attempt and fired a pass to Duchene, who converted for his 10th goal.
Chicago got on the scoreboard when Kubalik scored 6:43 into the second period. He buried a wrist shot for his 14th goal of the season and his third goal in as many games.
The Blackhawks pulled within 3-2 on a power-play goal 5:32 into the third period. DeBrincat beat Rinne with a backhand shot for his 11th goal.
Bonino tallied an empty-net goal in the final minute before Rinne did the same.
—Field Level Media