NHL: Nashville 3, Vancouver 0

March 4, 2011 at 1:07 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 4 (UPI) -- Pekka Rinne made 29 saves Thursday to collect his fifth shutout of the season and bring the Nashville Predators a key 3-0 victory over Vancouver.

By downing the No. 1 team in the Western Conference, the Predators inched into a playoff position. Almost every game played among Western Conference teams, however, is like a playoff contest because the evening began with the fourth through 11th place teams separated by only four points.

Rinne, in his third full NHL season, has 19 career shutouts. His latest came at the expense of the struggling Canucks, who have alternated wins and losses in their last 12 games.

The contest was scoreless until Blake Geoffrion put Nashville in front 1:59 into the third period. Patric Hornqvist added a goal with 2:21 to play and David Legwand scored into an empty net with 35 seconds left.

Roberto Luongo stopped 26-of-28 shots for Vancouver.

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