Rinne sets career high for saves, allows one too many goals

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 11:52pm

There was a time Tuesday when every shot on goal — all seven of them — belonged to the Nashville Predators.

It was at the precise moment that Cody Franson’s wrister from the right wing circle found its way into the net and gave the Predators an early lead. That also was when things began to change.

Not only did the San Jose Sharks record the majority of shots the rest of the way, they got the last one as Patrick Marleau scored on a breakaway with 67 seconds remaining in overtime and sent Nashville to a 2-1 defeat before 14,132 at Bridgestone Arena.

“He just beat me 5-hole,” Rinne said. “That’s it.”

After having been little more than a spectator through the first seven-plus minutes (Marleau got the Sharks’ first shot 7:33 after the opening faceoff), Rinne finished with a career-high 48 saves as the Predators were outshot 50-31, including 5-0 in overtime.

San Jose became the second visiting team ever to amass at least 50 shots on Nashville’s home ice.

Detroit had done so three times previously, most recently on Feb. 10, 2009, when it racked up 51. Rinne played that one as well and made 46 saves, which was his career-high until this contest.

“You just have to go with it,” Rinne said. “Every single game is going to be different until the end of the season. It doesn’t matter how many shots you face. … I like to play these kind of games where I get a lot of shots and stay busy.”

It was San Jose’s highest shot total of the season.

“We wanted to throw a lot of rubber at [Rinne], and he stood in there tall,” Marleau said. “… He’s definitely one of the top goalies in the league. He’s pretty big in there — that’s for sure.”

His workload picked up notably when defensemen Ryan Suter and Shane O’Brien were called for penalties 1:34 apart, beginning with a hook by Suter at 10:34 of the first. Nashville successfully killed off both, which included a 26-second overlap when San Jose had a two-man advantage, and reached the first intermission with a 1-0 lead and a slight edge in shots, 14-12.

Things really intensified in the third period when the Sharks got 17 pucks through to Rinne.

“I thought we came out pretty well, but their forecheck kind of took over in the third,” captain Shea Weber said. “They definitely played in our end for most of the third.”

Other than Marleau’s, the only other shot that got behind Rinne was one from Devin Setoguchi, who hit the target as he drove the right wing at tied it 1-1 with 10:47 to play in the second period.

“The way [Rinne] had it played, he probably had 99 percent of the net covered,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Sometimes the perfect puck placed in the right spot trumps everything.

“A perfect shot. It went in.”

With that many shots, odds were one of them was bound to be pretty good.


• J-P Dumont was a healthy scratch as both Marcel Goc and Marek Svatos returned to the Nashville lineup after injuries.

Dumont did not have a point in the previous eight games, five of which he was on the ice for fewer than 10 minutes.

“It was a coach’s decision,” Trotz said. “We’re getting people healthy and we have to put people in certain areas and … try to stabilize things a little bit.”

Goc had a regular role as the center on a line between Colin Wilson and Joel Ward. He played 17:34 and had four shots on goal. Svatos played just 4:31 (fewest for any player on either team) and had one shot.

Wade Belak was Nashville’s other scratch.

• Defenseman Kevin Klein sustained an apparent shoulder injury with 1:40 to play in overtime. Klein left his stick on the ice, made his way to the bench and went immediately to the training room.

After the game a team spokesman said Klein was uninjured.

• Nashville is 0-5 in games decided in the four-on-four overtime period this season.

• Marleau’s goal was his 16th in 45 career games against Nashville. No one else for San Jose has scored more than eight against the Predators.