It's the best time of year!
Coming into the season, some considered Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne to be a Vezina Trophy contender. How could you not? His play at the end of the year was sparkling, while he was the official No. 1 with Dan Ellis departing.
The first couple months haven’t exactly gone to script for ‘Peks’, though. He sustained a knee injury in the opener against Anaheim and wasn’t consistent upon his return. However, if the last handful of games has told us anything, it’s that Rinne is getting back to normal – which is great news for the Preds.
If you totally forget the nightmare in Toronto, Rinne is 4-1-1 in his last six games with a 1.42 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. In his previous four starts, Rinne had gone winless with a 4.57 goals-against average and .857 save percentage.
“I think he’s gotten over that early injury and he’s rounding into form,” Barry Trotz said. “I think it takes a while for any player with any kind of injury to get back to feeling the trust in their game and body, mentally and physically.”
Rinne has looked a lot quicker and more comfortable in the crease, making those big saves that Preds fans are used to seeing.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good for a little while now,” Rinne said. “As a team, we’ve played a little bit better and that’s key for us.”
If Rinne can keep up this play and the offense can give him some goal-support, the wins should start piling up for the Finnish netminder. In games that he has started, the offense has only scored 1.87 goals per game (not including the extra tally from shootout wins). Despite great efforts from Rinne in the last three games, the offense has scored just two goals in the process.
“He’s played really well,” Trotz said. “We just got to get him some goals. When we get him some goals we’re usually in good shape.”
Overall on the season, Rinne is 6-6-3 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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