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02/15/2013 12:02 AM EST
Rinne makes 19 saves, Predators blank Coyotes 3-0
NASHVILLE 3, PHOENIX 0

By JIM DIAMOND
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Nashville Predators have struggled
to generate goals this season. Fortunately for them, Pekka Rinne
doesn't give up many, either.



Rinne made 19 saves for his second consecutive shutout, leading
the Predators to a 3-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on
Thursday night.



Gabriel Bourque, Nick Spaling and Mike Fisher had the Nashville
goals. Rinne has shutouts in three of his past four starts and
has not allowed a goal in his last 137 minutes, 41 seconds of
action.



"Especially the last two games, I thought the first periods, he
allowed us to win the games," Predators coach Barry Trotz said.
"Anytime that you are going to have impact in a game, those top
players, those great players in the league have impact when you
are not stabilized."



Bourque scored the game's first goal at 2:40 of the third
period.



With the Predators on a power play, Martin Erat sent a wrist
shot from the right boards toward the net. With his back facing
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, Bourque deflected Erat's shot with
his right skate. After making contact with Bourque's skate, the
puck trickled across the goal line on Smith's stick side.



"It was a tight game. You thought the first team that scored was
going to have a big advantage, and that's exactly how it turned
out," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We had some
opportunities, actually had some good setup time, but the pucks
we were getting to the net weren't dangerous pucks."



Spaling added an insurance goal at 9:38 of the third.



Matt Halischuk won a battle for the puck in the right corner and
found Spaling at the right faceoff dot. From there, Spaling beat
Smith with a wrist shot tucked just underneath the crossbar on
the short side.



"I got a nice pass from Hali there," Spaling said. "I was
shooting high and there was a little bit of a hole."



Fisher concluded the scoring with his second of the season at
18:16.



Phoenix had its best chance of the game just more than 3 minutes
into the opening period.



With all but one Predators player caught in the offensive zone,
all five Coyotes on the ice drove into the Nashville zone on an
unusual 5-on-1 break. Ex-Predator Steve Sullivan sent a wrist
shot on goal, but Rinne was able to glove the puck and force a
faceoff.



"I thought we had a really good first period, really kind of set
the pace, but they bounced back and had a really good second,"
Sullivan said. "We thought we had hung around long enough for a
good road win and come out with a good third period, but they
got a lucky break on the power-play goal. They got some
confidence from that and we couldn't recover."



Rinne later denied Sullivan on a backhander at 16:06 of the
third with the Predators holding a two-goal lead.



"I think right now I am just getting results," Rinne said. "I am
feeling good, but the team in front of me, they are playing so
good."



Sullivan played his first game in Nashville since leaving the
Predators following the 2011 playoffs. In parts of six seasons
with Nashville, Sullivan played 317 regular-season games,
scoring 100 goals and adding 163 assists.



He was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 2009
following his return after missing nearly two full years of
action with a back injury.



During the game's first media timeout, the Predators played a
highlight video of Sullivan's time in Nashville. At the
conclusion of the video, Sullivan stood up and waved to the
applauding crowd.



NOTES: The Predators outshot their opponent for just the second
time this season. ... Erat played his 700th career game, all
with Nashville. ... Phoenix D Derek Morris sustained an
upper-body injury in the first period and did not return.

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