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Predators getting by thanks to Pekka

Feb 15, 2013, 1:24 AM EDT

Rinne Getty Images

The Nashville Predators are at the bottom of the National Hockey League in scoring.

They’ve also won five of their first seven games to begin the February portion of their schedule, thanks in large part to the red-hot play of goaltender Pekka Rinne.

On Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes, Rinne stopped all 19 shots he faced to backstop the Predators to a 3-0 win.

All three goals came in the third period. Suddenly the Predators, losers of five of their first six games, albeit three of those defeats were in the shootout, are now fourth in the Western Conference with a 7-3-4 record.

Thursday marked Rinne’s third shutout in the last four games.

“I don’t know where we’d be without Pekka,” Nashville blue liner Ryan Ellis told NHL.om.

“He’s the best goaltender in the world.”

With a team that ranks at the bottom of the league in goals-for – at a rate of 1.86 goals per game – the goaltending has to be good.

So, too, does the defense.

“Everything we do if you’re going to be successful, it starts with being able to defend, and once you’re able to defend, everything sort of piggybacks off that,” head coach Barry Trotz said to The Tennessean.

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