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Weber, Rinne struggle again as Coyotes blank Predators

Jan 28, 2013, 11:55 PM EDT

sheawebergetty Getty Images

So, you’ve never heard of Chad Johnson, at least the Phoenix Coyotes goalie and not Chad Ochocinco?

That’s understandable, but the 26-year-old netminder now has two things Pekka Rinne doesn’t have this season: a win and a shutout.

Johnson* and the Coyotes defeated a punch-less Nashville Predators squad 4-0 on Monday night. He needed just 21 saves to blank the Preds, who must worry about scoring without Patric Hornqvist.

When your team is 1-2-3 in six contests, blame should be spread around. Still, it’s hard not to single out Rinne, 30 and Shea Weber, 27, after the team went to great expenses to keep them around.

The big Finnish netminder is 0-2-3; his cap hit is $7 million. The hard-shooting defenseman has zero points and a -1 rating while carrying around a cap hit that’s a little under $7.86 million. Overall, the Predators have managed just 10 goals in six contests.

Yes, it’s very early, but those numbers must be disturbing to many Predators fans (and probably GM David Poile).

If it hasn’t started already, a lot of life after Ryan Suter questions will start cropping up as the team continues to struggle. He’s not lightning up the world (three assists, but a -5 rating), yet Nashville’s tough opening will bring out plenty of doubters.

The Predators have some serious work to do if they want to prove them wrong again.

* – Interesting fact from NHL.com’s Michael Blinn: this was Johnson’s second NHL win. The first came as a member of the New York Rangers almost three years ago; he triumphed against the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 31, 2010.

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