TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for his 40th win, and the Nashville Predators moved into first place in the Central Division Thursday night by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2.
Mike Ribeiro, Paul Gaustad and Mike Santorelli scored for the Predators, who took a one-point lead over St. Louis. The Blues have played one fewer game.
Rinne made a pad save on Alex Killorn’s in-close backhand early in the third. The goalie had a career-best 43 wins in 2011-12.
Tampa Bay got goals from Vladislav Namestnikov and Brian Boyle.
Soon after Nashville failed to get a shot during a four-minute power play, Santorelli ended Ben Bishop’s night by scoring on his own rebound to give Nashville a 3-1 lead 6:47 into the second.
Bishop gave up three goals on 11 shots, and was replaced by Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Boyle got the Lightning within 3-2 at 13:19 of the second.
Ribeiro (3:28) and Gaustad (4:08) scored 40 seconds apart early in the first to put Nashville up 2-0.
Ribeiro had a nice redirection from the left circle and Gaustad swatted a thigh-high rebound into the net.
Namestnikov made it 2-1 with 29 seconds left in the first after skating behind the net and putting the puck in off Rinne.
The Predators went almost 11 minutes without a shot after Gaustad’s goal until Mike Fisher had a soft, long-range backhand. Nashville went eight shotless minutes to start the third.
Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette returned after missing six games with an upper body injury and sent Mattias Ekholm onto the Lightning bench with a big check in the second.
NOTES: Nashville LW James Neal (upper body) missed his sixth straight game. … Predators LW Viktor Stalberg (lower body) played after missing one game, while C Matt Cullen (lower body) sat out his second straight. … Tampa Bay LW Brenden Morrow didn’t play due to an upper body injury. … The Lightning signed F Brayden Point to a three-year entry-level contract. … Nashville reassigned LW Kevin Fiala to Milwaukee of the AHL.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.