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Pekka Rinne concludes his 29th birthday by shutting out Coyotes…

NSH VAN recap pic

This morning, Pekka Rinne celebrated his 29th birthday. This afternoon, he signed a seven-year contact extension worth $49 million. Tonight, he shutout the Phoenix Coyotes to complete the newly coined “birthday hat trick.”

Rinne turned aside all 35 Phoenix shots in the Nashville Predators’ 3-0 win in front of 6,738 at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

The Kempele, Finland native improves to 6-4-2 on the season and ties Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick for the league lead in shutouts with three.

It’s also his second shutout in three games.

A scoreless opening frame came and went before the Predators opened the scoring. In the second, Predators defenseman Jon Blum did something Nashville rarely does: put a routine wrist shot on net. The result was the first goal of the game as Matt Halischuk was screening the shot from Coyotes goaltender Jason Labarbera.

8:00 later the Preds added another tally as rookie Craig Smith led the charge up ice in what resulted in a 2-on-1 for Nashville. When Smith put the perfect pass on Halischuk’s tape, he one-timed it past Labarbera to make it 2-0.

The Preds will now travel to Silicon Valley as they’ll take on the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night. Puck drops at 9:30pm Central so get your Saturday nap in.

LEFTOVER THOUGHTS:
* Think he’s made a name for himself in Music City? The new FS-Tennessee commercials are saying “Craig Smith and the Preds…”
* With about 9:00 left in the third period, Rinne came out to play the puck and got caught. Kevin Klein ended up “playing goal” for a second or two as Rinne scrambled back. Phoenix failed to score.
* Klein took a shot off the ankle late in the contest and went to the locker room. He would return but don’t be surprised if he has an injury.
* The victory is Rinne’s 101st of his NHL career.
* The Preds and Rinne are 3-0-1 in their last four.

THE THREE STARS OF THE NIGHT:
1) Pekka Rinne (NSH)
2) Matt Halischuk (NSH)
3) Mikkel Boedker (PHX)

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // section303.com