Artem Anisimov just keeps scoring for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Anisimov had the only goal of the game with 6:25 remaining in the third period and Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves to lead the Blue Jackets to a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
It was the sixth goal in the last six games for Anisimov, who also has scored the last four game-winners for Columbus.
It took less than three minutes for Rinne to re-introduce himself to a sold-out Bridgestone Arena crowd, one that hadn’t seen him play since he underwent surgery for a hip infection in October.
Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby, the NHL’s leading points producer, led an early two-on-one rush straight at Rinne. Crosby zipped a perfect pass across the top of the crease that teammate Chris Kunitz appeared ready to knock home. But Rinne stretched across the crease to make a right pad save.
Not bad for a guy who had missed the Predators’ past 51 games.
Rinne couldn’t stay at that level all game against the Penguins, the Eastern Conference’s best team. Matt Niskanen scored his second goal of the game early in the third period, and the Penguins went on to win 3-1.
The Predators’ 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena showed how difficult it can be to get back into the playoff race in the NHL.
The Predators played well enough to win, outshooting the Jets 40-20 and drawing six more power plays. But they couldn’t figure out a way to beat Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec more than once.
“The only thing I didn’t like about the game was the final result,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “It tears your heart out sometimes. That’s what I said to you guys right before we started this last 23 games ... there’s going to be games where you get your heart ripped out of your chest. How do you rebound? That’s why I talk about, ‘You have to forget about what happened.’ ”