Franson scored 1:54 into overtime and Rinne posted his second straight shutout as the Nashville Predators stretched their winning streak to five games with a 1-0 victory over the Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Rinne and Columbus counterpart Steve Mason were equally stingy during regulation time. Rinne stopped all 32 shots he saw in the first 60 minutes and then one more in overtime. Mason made 30 saves, all before the extra session.
"When the game is 0-0 in the third period, then you start thinking that you are only going to need one goal," Rinne said. "It was a very disciplined game. I think everyone knew it was just a matter of one goal."
Three of Rinne's last four wins have been by shutout. He has gone 132 minutes, 36 seconds without allowing a goal.
"He's been really sharp," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "He's doing a good job. He's moving, his hands have been good, he's been seeing the puck, and obviously playing very well for us."
Franson beat Mason with a slap shot from the right point through traffic. It was the rookie's sixth goal of the season and third game-winner.
"I didn't see anybody there and we had guys going to the net, so I just tried to put it there," Franson said. "It went off his blocker a little bit and trickled around and went over the line."
Mason thought he should have had the shot.
"I didn't read it off of his stick very well, and he has a hard shot," he said. "It snuck through I guess. At the end of the day, I made that one mistake there at the end and it cost the team the game."
Columbus had its two-game winning run snapped.
"Steve Mason, for me, was fabulous," Columbus coach Claude Noel said. "He saved us. "I thought everyone, from Mason right on up played tremendously. It was a great game for us."
The Predators have beaten the Blue Jackets 14 consecutive times in Nashville. It is the NHL's longest home winning streak over another team. All three of Nashville's home wins over Columbus this season have required extra time. The first two were decided in shootouts.
Rinne denied Columbus defenseman Mike Commodore on a breakaway 39 seconds into overtime. Commodore tried to beat Rinne with a wrist shot from the low slot, but the goalie snared it with his glove to keep the Predators' hope alive.
"It's not my year, it just isn't my year," Commodore said. "It's not like I practice those a whole lot, so I can't be too disappointed. I should have shot low. I shot high and he caught it."
Commodore has yet to score this season. His last goal came Feb. 14, 2009, a span of 73 games.
NOTES: Nashville C Dustin Boyd played in his 200th NHL game. ... The Blue Jackets haven't scored a power-play goal in four games. ... Nashville won five of six from Columbus in the season series. ... Predators RW Martin Erat, who earned an assist on Franson's goal, has points in four consecutive games. Rookie Colin Wilson also recorded an assist on the play, giving him three points in two games.
Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz
On the play of Pekka Rinne…
He’s been really sharp. Obviously both goalies were sharp tonight. He’s doing a good job – he’s moving, his hands have been good, he’s been seeing the puck, and obviously playing very well for us. If he wasn’t playing well I don’t think we’d win a couple of these [recent] games. Goaltending obviously can make a big difference.
On killing a 5-on-3 Columbus advantage…
That was absolutely huge. We actually built some momentum from that. In the first period I thought we played with a little bit of entitlement. Maybe we thought Columbus was going to come in here and give us an easy game. I know what Claude has done, and I’ve been watching Columbus – they’ve been playing extremely well, their top players and everybody has been contributing for them. They’re on top of their game. We were able to get through the first, and a lot of that is due to Pekka.
When we had that 5-on-3 we actually got some energy. The guys did a really good job and it got hairy there with breakaways and all those things that happened. The penalty kill did a great job. Sometimes momentum can change in a heartbeat and it changed after we killed that off. It actually energized us. We got a great ovation and that sort of woke us up – the fans were fantastic in trying to urge us on. We got the win; they were the seventh man tonight.
On tonight’s game-winning goal…
I don’t know if you expect it to be a fluky goal. It’s going to be either a mistake or a good effort. You just don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a game of inches, and you don’t know what inches are going to make the difference.
I had just looked down the bench and I saw the puck going to the point and I was just saying ‘Let’s not get anything blocked from the point,’ and then all of a sudden everybody was cheering. Good things happen when you get the puck to the net.
On Nashville’s 14-game home winning streak against Columbus…
We don’t really look at those things, to be honest with you. I don’t think we talk about it until [reporters] mention it.
We look at it as just a one-game-at-a-time type of thing. We can look at some of the streaks we’ve had on the negative side, against a team like L.A. for a couple of years – we couldn’t beat them. Now the streak’s gone the other way – we’ve had a streak with Columbus, but I’m sure at some point in time it’ll go the other way. That’s sport, that’s life.
I think that was the fourth game in overtime against Columbus this year, so there’s not much between us and them. They’re a good hockey team.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On the overall play of the game tonight…
It was good. Like I’ve said before, it goes hand-in-hand. I think their team played well defensively, even though early on they had some good chances. I think after that we got it going. They didn’t get much.
On the big save he made during the first period…
It was one of those things were I had to make the first save and I knew that there was going to be a rebound so I used my back leg to try and reach back as far as I could. I was lucky I made that save and that was obviously a big save.
On thinking that the first goal scored might be the only goal scored in tonight’s game…
Yeah, when the game is 0-0 in the third period, then you start thinking that. You are only going to need one goal and I could tell by how the game was going. Both teams were playing well defensively and there weren’t too many penalties. It was a very disciplined game. I think everyone knew it was just a matter of one goal.
Defenseman Cody Franson
On his game-winning goal tonight…
I didn’t see anybody there and we had guys going [to the net] so I just tried to put it there and hopefully they could beat it to the net and try and bang it in. It went off his blocker a little bit and trickled around and went over the line.
On wondering if there was going to be a goal scored during regulation…
Both of those guys played well. Pekka played great for us and has for awhile now. Mason played really well for those guys tonight. Sometimes you get a little lucky.
On moving up in the Western Conference standings…
We’ve been trying to keep it even and let the standings play themselves out and that’s what we are going to keep doing.