Pekka Rinne extended his franchise record for consecutive wins, and the Nashville Predators continued to get the best of the NHL’s best division with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday at Chicago.
Rinne made 24 saves and won for the ninth straight time. In so doing, he improved to 28-11-4 on the season. His win streak exceeds by two the previous mark he shared with Tomas Vokoun and his win total already is sixth highest in franchise history.
He is second only to Detroit’s Jimmy Howard in wins this season.
The victory was Nashville’s 11th in 15 games — and fifth straight — against the Central Division, which boasts four of the NHL’s top eight teams in terms of points.
In their final game before the All-Star break the Predators matched the Blackhawks with 64 points and moved within one of the St. Louis Blues. Based on the number of victories (30 for Nashville, 29 for Chicago), the Predators passed the Blackhawks for fifth place in the Western Conference standings.
Craig Smith and Mike Fisher gave Nashville a 2-0 lead with first-period goals, and Rinne kept it that way until Chicago’s Dave Bolland scored on the power play with 12:40 remaining in the contest. Marian Hossa had the primary assist on Bolland’s goal and extended his personal point streak to nine games.
Colin Wilson’ finally put the game out of reach when he scored an empty-net goal with 13 seconds to go.