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Rinne makes 42 saves en route to 11th straight win…

If this is a first round playoff series, we’re in for a real treat.

In one of the most exciting games held at Bridgestone Arena this season, the Nashville Predators won their sixth home game in a row, beating the St. Louis Blues 3-1 in front of yet another sold out crowd.

How exciting was it? Head Coach Barry Trotz put it perfectly.

“If you’re a fan and you didn’t know anything about hockey and this was your first game, you’ll be coming back.”

Amen Coach.

Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne made 42 saves, including 20 in the third period, to win his 11th straight game. He’s now 30-11-4 on the season and is 20-2-0 in his last 23.

It was all Preds in the first period. On the scoreboard anyway.

The Blues may have fired 16 shots at Rinne in the first but it was Martin Erat who struck first. The Trebic, Czech Republic native used the power play to fire a rocket from the blueline that went through traffic and into the back of the net.

“How many slapshots have you seen Marty take in the 14 years here?” Trotz said. “I like the fact that he’s not just playing one way. He’s adapting to the game.”

Moments later, Sergei Kostitsyn made an incredible pass to Mike Fisher who was in front of Jaroslav Halak. Fisher made a nice toe-drag move and put a backhander past the St. Louis netminder for the 2-0 lead.

The score would stay that way until the opening minutes of the final frame when Roman Josi made a rookie mistake. Instead of using his passing outlet as he carried the puck over his own blueline, he turned toward his own net. Chris Porter stole it and snapped a shot past Rinne to pull within one.

Then it became the Pekka Rinne Show.

During a mad scramble in the Nashville zone, Rinne went down to make a save on the right side of his crease. He couldn’t quite reach the rebound however and another mad scramble ensued. With Rinne down, the Blues were able to chip it to the other side of the crease where Kris Russell was able to get a clean shot off. Rinne reached out and made a miraculous glove save that some are calling the save of the NHL season.

“The puck was just laying there and he had an open net,” Rinne said. “That was a big save at the time. Sometimes you work your hardest and you get lucky sometimes.”

Coach Trotz agreed.

“There’s not too many goaltenders in this league that make that save. It’s why I keep saying he’s the best one.”

Kostitsyn would add the empty netter in the final seconds to seal the deal and give the Preds their sixth straight home victory and their sixth straight divisional win.

Nashville will try to keep their home streak going when the Vancouver Canucks come to town on Tuesday night.

Puck drops at 7:00pm Central.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover //