Pekka Rinne has been the backbone of the Nashville Predators for many years. There are many things fans should watch for in Pekka’s game this season.
The Nashville Predator’s goaltender, Pekka Rinne, is hot right now (and not just in the looks department). He has been the backbone of this team and referred to as an elite goalie since the 2008-2009 season, where he played 52 games for the Predators. During the 2013-2014 season, Rinne suffered from a hipinfection that caused him to miss 51 games. When Rinne made his return, there were talks that he would not regain his elite goaltender status. Rinne had missed a lot of games and was getting older, in the critics defense.
It was obvious that the rumors did not phase Rinne. While the Nashville Predators made the playoffs in 2015 and 2016, they suffered from early elimination. Rinne got off to a stellar start in the 2016-2017 season, being named the NHL’s first star of the month for November. The Nashville Predators were the 16th team to make the playoffs in 2017 and many people agreed they wouldn’t make it far. After Rinne posted shutouts in the first two games against Chicago, in Chicago, he proved that this team was the real deal and had much potential. He also proved that he was still, despite what the critics said, elite.
Rinne’s capability has already shown in the 2017-2018 season. He has points in 6 out of 7 games played this season and a save percentage of .933. In addition, he is 3-0-1 at home and has already recorded a shutout against Philadelphia
When watching the Nashville Predators play, it is apparent that the players feel comfortable with #35 in net. They make plays that may seem a little more risky because they know Rinne will be there to back them up. Most of these plays work out in the Predator’s favor; however, Rinne is called upon to bail out his teammates other times. He usually does so successfully.
Unlike many goalies in the league, Rinne has a great ability to move the puck and act as a third defenseman. His puck moving ability only contributes to the Predators having the best defense in the league. In fact, Rinne was so active in the 2017 playoffs that he recorded two assists against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Nashville Predators are so fortunate to have Rinne as their backbone and would not be as successful without him. Look at the Pittsburgh Penguins, for example. They seem to have all the pieces of the puzzle, including two Stanley Cups in two years. However; it doesn’t matter how good their defense and offense are when they have Antti Niemi in net. A loss by six goals isn’t fun. Big saves by goalies, like Rinne, contribute to the tone of the game and can steal points
There is room for improvement for any hockey player and Juuse Saros happens to be learning the ropes from one of the best. Although he is not off to the best start, the Predators seem to be giving Saros a good amount of starts. The experience he is gaining, along with the advice he is getting from Rinne, will convert to confidence down the road in a starting goaltender position.
Pekka Rinne told The Tenessean that he knows he has two seasons left on his contract. After that, he is unsure of his hockey career. If fans learned anything from last year’s playoff run, it is that Rinne wants a cup. With that being said, fans can expect more stellar performances during the next two years from #35. His determination will continue to show through in hopes to achieve the end goal. It is an exciting time for Predators’ fans and will continue to be, as they watch Pekka Rinne’s determination to win a Stanley Cup.