NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Pekka Rinne stopped 33 shots in his NHL debut and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3.

Rinne is the fourth goaltender used by the Predators this season. He was recalled from Milwaukee of the AHL after Nashville backup Chris Mason sustained a groin injury during warmups Tuesday night at Florida. Brian Finley, also recalled from Milwaukee, lost 7-3 that night, prompting the decision to start Rinne.

The Blackhawks tested Rinne early as Mark Bell scored a short-handed goal on a wrist shot from low in the slot that went in at 2:29 of the first period.

Paul Kariya tied it for Nashville 92 seconds into the middle period, shooting a one-timer through traffic from high in the slot past goalie Craig Anderson.

Martin Erat put Nashville ahead 2-1 at 10:32 of the period. Yanic Perreault gave the Predators a two-goal lead 6:17 later, pushing the puck into an empty net with Anderson out of position after taking a pass from Steve Sullivan.

Nashville’s Vernon Fiddler skated through the slot on a short breakaway and put the puck high above Anderson’s left shoulder at 1:48 to make it 4-1.

Less than a minute later, Tyler Arnason cut the deficit to two goals. Anton Babchuk followed with his first goal of the season, to make it 4-3. But Sullivan restored Nashville’s two-goal lead with his 13th goal, a short-handed tally on a breakaway.

Notes: RW Jordin Tootoo was back in a Nashville uniform for the first time since the season opener, replacing Jeremy Stevenson who is out for a month with a knee injury. Tootoo was recalled earlier in the day from Milwaukee. Pavel Vorobiev s assist on Bell’s goal gave him four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in three games.

AP-ES-12-15-05 2318EST


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