The Nashville Predators’ 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets left goaltender Pekka Rinne at a loss for words.
“It was a tough game to lose,” he said.
Rinne made 35 saves on the night, his fourth-highest total of the season. The 38 saves the 30-year-old made in Monday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Chicago is his season high.
In the middle of the second period, Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert and Rinne exchanged unpleasantries when Calvert found himself on top of the Nashville netminder, taking Rinne out of the play.
While the sold-out crowd at Bridgestone Arena was angered by the no-call on the ice, Rinne dismissed the incident after the game.
“I guess he fell down and I got stuck. It wasn’t a big deal,” he said.
Still, when Calvert scored at 10:50 of the third period, just over three minutes after a would-be Blue Jackets goal was disallowed, it was deflating. The goal, which deflected in off Rinne’s blocker, put the Blue Jackets on top 3-1 at a critical juncture in the game.
“It just went in, it was a bad goal,” Rinne said.
It was also Calvert who kicked the puck in the net at 6:42 of the final frame, which was ruled a goal on the ice but called off after video review.
“It was the break we thought we needed there, and we were going to try to rally around that, but unfortunately it didn’t work,” Predators captain Shea Weber said.
Predators head coach Barry Trotz credited Calvert’s line with stepping it up in the third period.
“The Dubinsky line set the tone,” he explained. “They had some zone time and seemed to be the really strong line for them in the third period. That’s what you need, every line contributing. I thought when they put Dubinsky between Atkinson and Calvert, it gave them a spark and was a very good line for them tonight.”
Kevin Klein picked up the lone Nashville goal.
“It was a good pass across from [Patric] Hornqvist. It was just one of those things,” he explained. “We had lots of scrums, lots of second opportunities, and we were buzzing pretty good that shift. I thought I would just sneak back door.
“We had chances and you can’t always wait until the third period to get things done. It’s one of those things where you can only rely on that so much,” he said.
The Predators will now try to put the loss behind them and focus on this weekend’s back-to-back contests against the Chicago Blackhawks.