Rinne sharp as Predators roll

– Pekka Rinne made a season-high 42 saves, and the Nashville Predators extended their winning streak to six games by beating the San Jose Sharks 5-1 Tuesday night.

Rinne leads the NHL with 34 wins, and he is 15-1-1 in his past 17 games. "There was times when he really just stood on his head," coach Peter Laviolette said.

San Jose holds the final Western Conference wild-card spot, two points ahead of Los Angeles and three up on the Wild. But both the Kings and Wild have three games in hand on the Sharks.

HIGHLIGHTS

•BENN'S HAT TRICK LIFTS STARS: Jamie Benn had his first career hat trick for the Stars in a 4-1 rout of the Blues in St. Louis. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock yanked goalie Brian Elliott in favor of Jake Allen after the Stars took a 3-0 lead before the midway mark of the first period.

•OVECHKIN STRIKES AGAIN: Alexander Ovechkin picked up his NHL-leading 37th goal and assisted on Joel Ward's winner with a little more than four minutes remaining to lift the Capitals to a 3-1 victory over the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

•BJUGSTAD STAYS HOT: Nick Bjugstad, a former Blaine and Gophers standout, scored the go-ahead goal on a power play in the second period as the Panthers beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 in Toronto. The goal was Bjugstad's fourth in five games.

ASSOCIATED PRESS