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Penguins Fall To Predators 3-1

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PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pekka Rinne stopped 42 shots to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Rinne was 63 seconds from his fifth shutout of the season when Nick Bjugstad scored for Pittsburgh.

Nick Bjugstad,Pekka Rinne
Pittsburgh Penguins' Nick Bjugstad (27) puts the puck under the pads of Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) for a goal in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Friday, March 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It was the second game in eight days between the teams and a rematch of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, won by Pittsburgh in six games.

Viktor Arvidsson's 32nd goal of the season - a power-play goal - set a career high and also was the 100th of his NHL career. Craig Smith and P.K. Subban also scored for the Predators, who moved into a first-place tie in the Central Division. Nashville, which clinched its fifth straight playoff berth Monday, has won five of seven after losing four of its previous six.

Matt Murray made 23 saves for the Penguins, whose three-game winning streak ended. Pittsburgh, which had a chance to tie the New York Islanders for second in the Metropolitan Division, came in having won 10 of 15 games and earned points in 14 of 16.

Rinne won for the first time in Pittsburgh and defeated the Penguins for just the second time in 10 career regular-season starts. In six previous career starts in Pittsburgh, including the playoffs, Rinne was 0-6-0 with a 5.14 goals-against average and a .822 save percentage. He allowed three goals or more in every other appearance in Pittsburgh.

Rinne allowed 12 goals and made just 34 saves during three 2017 Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh. He was strong on Friday, stopping 22 first-period shots. Rinne has eight wins and one shutout in his last 13 starts total. The 2018 Vezina Trophy winner recorded his 27th win of the season.

Pittsburgh outshot Nashville 22-11 in the first period, but the Predators held a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes thanks to Rinne. It was the fourth time this season the Penguins recorded 20 or more shots in a period.

Smith scored the lone goal of the period for Nashville when he deflected Matt Irwin's point shot behind Murray.

Arvidsson scored a power-play goal from inside the top of the left circle at 17:36 of the second period to put Nashville in front by two goals. Ryan Johansen had an assist on the goal to become the second player in team history to record a 50-assist season.

NOTES: Nashville won at Pittsburgh for the first time since Feb. 1, 2015. ... D Olli Maatta returned to the lineup for Pittsburgh after missing 21 games with an upper-body injury. ... F Evgeni Malkin (upper body), D Kris Letang (upper body) and D Chad Ruhwedel skated on Friday morning, but did not play against Nashville. ... Nashville recalled G Troy Grosenick on an emergency basis from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League because of an illness to G Juuse Saros. ... Smith joins Filip Forsberg as the only players in Predators history to record five 20-goal seasons. Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel played in his 200th NHL game.


Predators: Host Columbus on Saturday.

Penguins: Welcome Carolina on Sunday.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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