Kings Vs. Predators: Pekka Rinne Stops 30 As Kings Fall Short

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 27: Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings takes a shot on Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on February 27, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators were quite active on deadline day, but it would be one of their usual suspects who came up big in their 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Despite being one of the more active teams on trade deadline day, the Nashville Predators would ice essentially the same roster they had used all season. With newly acquired Paul Gaustad and Andrei Kostitsyn set to join the team tomorrow in Raleigh, they would depend on their core players to carry them to victory against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

With Pekka Rinne dueling Jonathan Quick in net, two of the best netminders in the Western Conference squared off, aided by strong defensive efforts from each team. With the predators carrying a slight edge in play through much of the first period, their efforts would end up paying off in an unexpected fashion.

As time wound down on the period, rookie defenseman Roman Josi would take the puck from the boards of the Nashville zone and race up the ice before firing a long shot from the Los Angeles blue line that somehow squeaked through Quick's pads and into the net.

The Predators would extend their lead early in the second period following a near miss by newly acquired King Jeff Carter. Striking the post, his shot would ricochet off the iron and up the ice before being played deep into the L.A. zone. Sergei Kostitsyn would dig the puck out of the boards against Mike Richards and throw it to the front of the net. David Legwand attempted to redirect the puck on net, but went wide. The missed shot would pay off, however, when it set up a perfect opportunity for Patric Hornqvist, who buried his shot to put Nashville ahead by two.

That lead would hold thanks to several saves by Rinne until late in the third period, when a Dustin Brown shot bounced off Ryan Suter in front of the crease and redirected into the Nashville net. Los Angeles attempted to rally off the goal, but the Predators would respond by counterattacking, pushing the puck up ice and forcing Quick to stay in his net until well into the final minute of regulation.

Though Rinne's shutout bid failed, the Finnish netminder still posted a .968 save percentage and improved to 35 wins on the season, the most by any goaltender in the NHL.

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