January 26, 2018 / 2:52 AM / in 5 months

Rinne notches fourth shutout as Predators roll

P.K. Subban scored for the third straight game Thursday night and Pekka Rinne made 27 saves for his fourth shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the New Jersey Devils 3-0 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Subban’s 12th goal of the season came at 9:48 of the second period, shortly after a faceoff win by Ryan Johansen. The puck came to Mattias Ekholm, who teed up Subban at the left point for a slapper that squirted through the pads of rookie goalie Ken Appleby.

Ekholm added insurance at 5:36 of the third period with his seventh marker, thanks in large part to Viktor Arvidsson. After firing a shot wide of the net to start the sequence, Arvidsson provided a jump screen on Ekholm’s blast from the left point and appeared to deflect the puck past Appleby, although the goal was given to Ekholm.

Arvidsson then ended remaining suspense at 15:11 with a shorthanded goal, his 15th of the season. Subban took the puck away and set up Arvidsson for a slapper.

Rinne and the Nashville defense took care of the rest, although New Jersey didn’t offer much in the way of a threat. Missing Taylor Hall (hand) and Marcus Johansson (concussion), two of their top forwards, the Devils managed a meager 12 shots on net through two periods.

New Jersey did create a good scoring chance just under 12 minutes into the game, but Rinne smothered John Moore’s wrister from the slot. Nico Hischier managed four shots on net, but few of his teammates were dangerous against the Predators’ strong defense.

The result gave Nashville a point in eight straight games, six of which have been wins, and allowed it to tie Winnipeg for first place in the Central Division. Meanwhile, the Devils dropped their fourth straight game.

Appleby made 24 saves in his first NHL start, necessitated by a groin injury that sidelined regular starter Cory Schneider. Appleby appeared in two previous games in a relief role, stopping all 28 shots he faced.

—Field Level Media

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