Rinne and Howard give fans a show in Preds loss…

Pekka Rinne pitched his fourth shutout in the month of March on Saturday night.

Too bad he also got the loss.

The Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings couldn’t find the back of the net for over 65 minutes in front of 17,113 at the Bridgestone Arena. It took 11 rounds of shootout hockey to decide a winner and the Red Wings took the victory.

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall scored only the second goal of any kind for the Wings in the 11th round of the shootout and the Predators decided to counter with a defenseman of their own. No, not Ryan Suter. No, not Shea Weber. Scoring machine Francis Bouillon.

*rolls eyes*

Netminder Jimmy Howard made the save to secure the shutout victory for the Red Wings who moved up to 6th place in the Western Conference.

Rinne finished with 38 saves (and then 9 more in the shootout that won’t find their way onto any stat sheet) and the game’s first star honor. His counterpart Howard had 33 saves, 10 more in the shootout, second star honors and, the trump card, the win.

Despite the loss, Rinne and the Predators remain in 5th place as they gained a point by forcing overtime.

GAME NOTES
* Despite Nick Spaling being one of the most consistent Predators players since returning to Nashville, the team is 1-1-1 since his recall.
* Rinne is 9-2-1 in the month of March, with four shutouts, clearly vying for the NHL’s 1st Star of the Month Award.
* Back-up goaltender Dan Ellis hasn’t started a game since March 11, a/k/a “the debacle in San Jose.” Matter of fact, he hasn’t played even one second of action since being pulled late in that third period in Northern California.
* The Preds may have only won one game in their last three, but they’re an amazing 10-4-1 since the Olympic break.
* Nashville will play it’s final Eastern Conference opponent on Monday night in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers aren’t going to make the playoffs so this is the only “trap game” remaining on the schedule for the Preds.
* Radio voice of the Red Wings Ken Kal appeared on The 303:30 on Saturday before the game and floated the idea of Howard competing for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. After Saturday’s game, Preds fans have reason to agree. Be sure to take a listen.