NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville won a game but may have lost a goaltender.
Colin Wilson had two goals and two assists to lead the Nashville Predators to a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
Nashville, though, lost goaltender Pekka Rinne — who still collected his NHL-leading 29th win — to a lower-body injury in the third period. He had stopped 20 of 21 shots before being replaced by Carter Hutton.
Hutton turned aside all 10 shots he faced over the game’s final 17 minutes.
“It’s my job just to be ready to go whenever,” Hutton said. “You mentally prepare to play every night. That’s part about being a pro.”
Craig Smith, Filip Forsberg and Mike Fisher also scored for Nashville, winners of four straight. Mike Ribeiro had two assists.
Rinne was hurt when Vancouver forward Chris Higgins drove toward the Predators’ net and became entangled with Nashville defenseman Anton Volchenkov. The pair then collided with Rinne, and their momentum carried the Finn into the end boards.
“When Pekka left the game, the best player on the ice for about four or five minutes was Carter Hutton,” said Nashville coach Peter Laviolette. “It was nice to see him come off of the bench and get into the game.”
The team announced that Rinne was day-to-day and that an update would come Thursday following Wednesday’s off day.
Alexander Edler had the lone goal for Vancouver, which has lost its last three.
The Canucks have four more games remaining on their current road trip.
“The last two games, we played good, we just lost,” Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said. “It’s a tough trip and it’s going to be a battle. Every game is going to be tough. They’re not going to be any easier.”
Smith scored the game’s first goal at 4:07 of the opening period.
With Vancouver short-handed due to a penalty for too many men on the ice, Wilson found Smith in the low slot, where he beat Vancouver goaltender Eddie Lack for his 13th of the season.
Just 2:15 later, Wilson gave Nashville a 2-0 lead.
Fisher took the puck away from Brad Richardson inside the Nashville blue line and carried it down the right side. He found Wilson inside the Vancouver blue line and skated to the faceoff dot, where he beat Lack with a wrist shot high to the far side.
“Fish is great,” Wilson said. “He works hard, he wins his battles, he’s a playmaker and does everything well. He’s fun to play with and we’ve been doing well together.”
Wilson has multiple points in six of his last 11 games.
Edler halved the Nashville lead at 2:47 of the second, connecting from the right circle after a prolonged scramble inside the Predators zone.
Forsberg scored at 13:32 of the third when his wrist shot caught a piece of Lack and then trickled across the goal line.
“I feel like it’s deciding the whole game and obviously it’s at a time in the game that I have to be better,” Lack said. “Before that, I felt like I made the saves that I had to make, and then obviously letting one of those in is not anything I want at that point.”
Fisher struck at 15:31 of the third, and he was followed by Wilson’s second goal of the game at 17:39.
Rinne was the goaltender of record in the game, earning his 29th win.
Notes: Wilson has points in four consecutive games. … Nashville LW James Neal returned to the lineup after missing five games with a lower-body injury. He posted two assists. … Vancouver D Christopher Tanev assisted on Edler’s goal. It was his first point since Dec. 22. … The Canucks are 7-11-1 when their opponent scores first this season.
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